Ugandans are heading for general elections early 2021. However we have to remember that Uganda shall not end in 2021.
For whatever we plan to do, we ought to appreciate the fact that this country is by far, more important than each of us, no matter the status.
Some political parties have already organized their Delegates Conferences and primaries to elect their leaders and flag bearers.
What is alarming however, is that the situation is already tense, chaotic and in some cases deadly! Both the incumbents and challengers have to remember that like all contests, there are winners and losers.
If they know this, it will help them from being overwhelmed by defeat.
The main election has not yet arrived but most contestants are already treating the game as a do-or-die.
This is uncalled for, neither is it good for national stability.
Elections must not be characterized by violence, black-mail, character assassination, tribalism or any other form of sectarianism.
Nobody should compromise the prevailing peace and stability which have significantly been an effort of all Ugandans.
Security agencies such as the police, the army and the local defense should act professionally and impartially.
Human rights must be seen to be respected not just by security agencies that often violate them, but also by contestants and the voters.
Say no to intimidation and bullying. The media too, should be non-partisan.
Political Parties now have a code of conduct. This was deeply and extensively brainstormed by the National Consultative Forum (NFC) for Political Parties and Organizations.
The NCF proposals were later discussed and finalized by the Parliament of Uganda.
Having been assented to by the President of Uganda, it is now a fully – fledged Act.
This law should largely help to create a leveled ground for all the stakeholders.
Some of the objectives of the code, among others are:
- To promote tolerance, peaceful co-existence and democratic principles between and among different Political Parties / Organisations and their members and supporters;
- To observe free and fair political campaigns and open public debates;
- Fair and proper conduct of leaders and members of political parties;
- Compliance by Political Parties and Organisations, their members and supporters, with all the laws relating to elections.
The code of conduct is the ethical standard of conduct for political parties and organizations, before, during and after elections.
The code must sanitize politics in Uganda. The implementers and enforcers of the law – the NCF, should execute their mandate and ensure that discipline prevails before, during and after elections.
The law further tasks all political parties and organizations to continuously prevail over their leaders, officials, candidates, agents and members in regard to respecting the provisions of this code.
Therefore, the general public – the leaders, prospective candidates and the voters shall require continuous sensitization about this unprecedented law.
Educating all the stakeholders country wide will not only result in having an informed and responsible citizenry in order to stay within the code but will also be ultimately good for democracy and good governance.
Popularizing the law will require every stakeholder’s co-operation.
Ssentongo Muzafalu is a Member of the Green Party
He is also a Member of the National Consultative Forum and Secretary of its Media Committee.