Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah held a conversation with members of the press where he was asked to comment on the reported rigging during the just ended NRM elections to elect the ruling party’s flag bearers come the 2016 general elections.
Hon. Oulanyah is quoted saying: ‘Rigging is part of the electoral process in Africa. So you have to start from there and prepare. If you expect heavens and choose to prepare as if they will not rig, pictures were shown and stories written, and some non-ministers were even arrested.
The situation will of course be different in the 2016 general elections because, whom do we expect to arrest these pathological riggers? Will Tanga Odoi arrest vote thieves working for his party even if he had the power to do so? Whom would he be working for then? And how about police and the army which have been arresting NRM riggers? Do we expect them to arrest the NRM riggers in the 2016 elections? We have ears but we don’t hear.
Fortunately not all is lost. The winners and the losers in the NRM primaries have shown that most of our present politicians are frozen in time. These guys don’t seem to realise that the majority of today’s voters, are young people who are really struggling to eke a living while the privileged few are telling them to get off their laurels and create jobs for themselves.
That is why, these over-assuming senior politicians can’t understand why they are being rejected by voters. They don’t seem to understand that they have stayed too long in power, done nothing for people who vote them into power but somehow expect that the voters have no right to re-evaluate their choices or have no right to change their minds.
Which should remind us of William Shakespeare when he wrote in Julius Caesar: ‘The evil that men do lives after them…’ our vanquished politicians may not necessarily be evil but their ineffectiveness will forever live after them. Instead of blaming their defeat to their relationship with Mbabazi or Museveni, they just need to ask themselves: ‘What have I done for the people that sent me to Parliament to work for them?’
And it doesn’t end here and now. Out yonder, ten years from today, the people of Uganda will be engaged in this same conversation. They will be discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the previous government with a particular emphasis on those people who especially made the lives of Ugandans miserable. Do some names come to mind?
We are sure they will be talking endlessly about the ‘President’s men and women’ who looted Uganda dry and strategically kept many Ugandans in poverty so that they can remain beholden to the thieves for alms especially during campaign times.
And they will be talking about those who made sure they would punish whoever subscribed to Opposition politics, looked and walked like you supported Besigye in the previous life or even questioned the authority of the mouthpieces of the past government. And they will be asking where some of those past political terrorist now are and what they are doing.
So what are we to read from the recent electoral voting patterns as the country prepares for next year’s elections? For us, we foresee a situation, out of fear of being persecuted in the next government, they would be the first ones to call for re-instatement of term limits. In any case, abolition of term limits is not a preserve of everyone. And of course we all know that sustenance of term limits after Museveni would lead to violence and probably undesirable coups.
The ancient Greeks said government has only one purpose, to improve the lives of citizens. If it doesn’t, there is no reason for it, no reason at all. May this guide us as we prepare to choose our next government and the next representatives.
What is disappointing is that many of the greedy and selfish people have been elected to represent their party again. And they are coming back when the opposition is still so shambolic that they can even agree on their own candidates to front in order to grab power. You sometimes wonder what they are fighting for in their Opposition business.
That said, may all those who have denied other Ugandans happiness in this political kingdom, remember that the time of reckoning and accountability is nigh. NRM voters have sent us all a very clear message: Who knew Ragga Dee would emerge as the people’s choice for the Office of the Lord Mayor? Or who ever imagined General Otafs would be defeated in the manner that he has? These are interesting times friends. And we need to start being very afraid.