Deep down in Mpata Parish, Mugomba Sub-county in Mukono District, a 19-year-old Amos Wambede was giving his father and politicians sleepless nights because he had dared them for the councillor seat.
Although Wambede’s father was not on the ballot paper, he was campaigning for his son’s opponent and NRM party candidate. Wambede contested as an Independent candidate.
Born in 2001, Wambede is a Senior Five student at St Balikudembe Kisoga Secondary School in Mukono. When the country went into a lockdown in March last year and schools were closed, Wambede simply went home. He spotted an opportunity when nominations of candidates for local council elections were declared open.
“When I was at home, a chance came for nomination and I said let me try it and I was nominated,” he narrated.
Being nominated was not enough. The biggest challenge lay ahead, with all odds against him. At 19 years, with no house of his own, a student and no wife, he feared no one would entrust him with responsibility of leading.
“During the campaigns, people were telling me you are still young, you don’t have a house and a wife and you are still a student. You will not go through. But people elected me as their councillor to the sub-county. The challenges of being young without a home did not stop me from campaigning. I kept on talking to them and they eventually supported me,” he said.
Why they elected him
“The reason people elected me was because I was confident. Secondly, I have never been involved in any bad behaviour in the area. Even at school, I was a Christian leader and a prefect for information and entertainment. The people in my area looked around and saw me as their leader who can save them from bad leadership,” he said.
Other candidates had political parties to sponsor them.
“The people I contested with were all old, they had a lot of money and invested so much in campaigns, but none of them won. For me, I had nothing but my people trusted me,” he said.
Focus on youth
Wambede said the youth in his area engage in criminal activities since many are jobless. He said his focus will be empowering them.
“I promise to improve the welfare of the youths in my parish. I will work with all people to improve the welfare. I will listen to advice from other people and together we can uplift the youths,” he says.
Juggling politics with studies
For a student, balancing politics and studies will be a tall order. But Wambede says his teachers are supportive of his political ambition.
“I have talked to the teachers and they know that I am now a councillor. They have told me that when it is time for council meetings, they will release me to go and attend,” he said.
The campaign hustle
“During the lockdown, I would wake up very early and go to dig because I am a farmer. I would work in the garden up to midday and later go for my campaigns. It is from farming that I have been paying my school fees since Senior One,” he said.
Wambede was discouraged from campaigning for the directly elected councillor seat by both opponents and his own father.
He said when he chose to contest for this position, most people were telling him to go for the youth seat since he was very young, but he rejected their proposal.
“I trusted myself and I was confident. The incumbent told me that since I am still young, I would only have three votes, from me, my mother and any other well-wisher. I told him that is where I will start from and that is how I started,” he said.
Wambede emerged victorious, beating NRM, NUP and another Independent candidate.