Belfast Telegraph

Doctor running in Uganda election

A doctor from Northern Ireland working in Uganda has swapped medicine for politics and is standing for election in the east African country.

Ian Clarke is the first white man to run for chairman - effectively the mayor - of the Makindye district of 400,000 people in the capital Kampala.

The Co Armagh native has been living in the landlocked state for around 20 years and is campaigning for better sanitation and health services.

"For me the issues are clearing up the rubbish and fixing potholes, making sure there is proper sanitation in the slums, and that we have a basic health service," he said.

"Those are the things that I'm campaigning on and I'm doing it because I've lived in this part of the city for years and years and I've seen the problems. I thought, well I can be a commentator, or I can actually get involved and do something about what's there."

Dr Clarke, 58, who runs an international hospital in the capital, is standing as an independent against five other candidates in the March election for chairman of the Makindye division, in the south of Kampala.

Although he is not standing on an anti-corruption platform it is a major problem and influence in the issues that he is trying to tackle.

But his strong stance has raised fears for his safety.

"Somebody was telling me that when the children crowd around, be careful that somebody's not going to stick a needle in you, or a knife, just be a bit wary," he said.

Despite not speaking Luganda, the local language, Dr Clarke believes he can clinch the poll. And he claimed voters would not be put off by his foreign-born status, predicting success because of his health care record and work in the community.

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