Mao Comes Home

Last night Mao rallied in Gulu town, his seat as LC5 Chairman. The welcomes began 3km from the centre.

Supporters lay down blankets in front of Mao's car

Crowds were lining the streets, waving raised fists and branches. Mao’s car was frequently mobbed by supporters and the ululations began to hurt my ears.

Mao is mobbed 2kms from the centre

As with all good rallies the bodas were alongside, revving their engines and clowning around.

Boda support

Boda support 2

Boda support 3

The convoy went through the centre of town and down to Boma Grounds, the site of the main rally.

Supporters on top of the Chinese supermarket

Road dust

The whole way we were entirely surrounded by chanting and whooping crowds.

Bonga- a fist bump

Trying to get to the stage


Supporters had laid out a red carpet for Mao to walk along

The red carpet being prepared

But the crush was too heavy and he had to be hustled through, ringed by security

Mao and security push towards the stage

The crowd was large, numbering in the thousands. Here is a poorly-stitched panorama which is best viewed by being clicked on

The placards throughout the day had been quite Obama-themed, though re-spelled.

A sign at a rally in the early afternoon in Awac

More spellings of Obama

Local elders and various candidates spoke first

DP Oyeee, the shout and raised fists which mark the start of every rally

DP supporters

And then the star of the show was on.

Mao in full flow

He spoke broadly, telling his usual jokes and stories but also repeatedly telling the crowds than Museveni is no more a fixture in Ugandan politics than Mubarak was in Egypt.

A child sitting below people watching Mao speaking

The crowd went wild for him, and escorted the car from the grounds to a local radio station where Mao was due to do a talk show.

Leaving the rally

Hundreds of people blowing whistles, chanting “we want change!”, screaming shouting, beeping horns and even taking off their t-shirts outside Mega FM to form a carpet for Mao to walk on.

Elvis (Mao's assistant) films from the roundabout before the rally

The roundabout after the rally

And I fell in a drainage ditch. What a day.


About Muzungu

I’m a Uganda-based freelance photographer (and occasional writer) working for a broad range of clients including NGOs, newspapers and magazines and development agencies. My work has taken me across East Africa, South America and Europe, and previous clients include USAID, the World Bank and the East African. I also work on personal documentary projects in my spare time. If you’d like to hire me or to know more, please feel free to get in touch.
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1 Response to Mao Comes Home

  1. Heart says:

    Hope you are relaxing as I write.. Again a life in pictures, that I only can dream of unfolding in front of my eyes.. Thanks for bringing it to us!

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