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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 30 October, 2014

Irishman elected as district council leader in Uganda

An Armagh native has become the first foreigner to ever be elected to political office in Uganda.

Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Image: cristoffercrusell via Creative Commons

AN IRISH DOCTOR has become the first white foreigner to be elected to political office in Uganda after being appointed as a district council leader in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Dr Ian Clarke, an Armagh native, has lived and worked in Uganda since 1990. He established a hospital in Luwero triangle, an area that had been devastated by a 5-year guerrilla war, local reports say. He also writes a weekly column in Uganda’s national newspaper The New Vision.

Clarke beat seven other candidates to be elected to one of the largest of Kampala’s five district councils for his promises to help fix local roads, hospital services and sanitation. Some of his opponents ran a campaign against him – stressing that he was a foreigner, nicknaming him the “white ghost” and saying he wanted to have the slum razed in order to build a private airstrip, reports Reuters Africa. However, locals did not subscribe to the smears:

“Look at that,” said taxi driver, Ernest Kezeela, pointing up at the hospital building. “I voted for him because he does not need money from politics. He has already started cleaning the area, building toilets. He is Ugandan now.”

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