I WAS IN UGANDA on the tail of Norbert Mao — leader of Uganda’s opposition Democratic Party — in the run-up to the 2011 elections. Contesting President Museveni for the presidency were Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change, Olara Otunnu of the Ugandan People’s Congress, and Mao. When I joined, he was running in third place behind Museveni and Besigye.
I’d met Mao by chance at a work function in July 2010 when I was based in Gulu. We’d shaken hands and exchanged pleasantries and then went our separate ways. But in January of 2011, with the elections fast approaching and a job in Poland finished sooner than expected, I wrangled his email address from a colleague and sent him a one-line email:
- “Dear Norbert,
We met in Gulu a few months back. Could I join your campaign as a photographer?
He said yes.