I joined three other Ugandans on Al Jazeera’s The Stream to discuss the recent Ugandan presidential elections:
Irene Ikomu @miss__rizzy
Coordinator, Parliament Watch Uganda
Bebe Cool @BebeCoolUG
Andrew Karamagi @karamagi_andrew
Lawyer and activist
There’s a silent resignation in some corners of the country about how the elections were handled. Many expected and voted for change of leadership, but also others as expected, voted for the incumbent President, Mr. Museveni, to aid him towards another 5 years as the leader of the country.
It’s hard to have an in-depth conversation on such a complex issue as the future of the country in less than 30 minutes with four guests. But what’s important is that the conversation happened. There’s nothing more transformative than citizens participating in the electoral process. What’s disappointing however, is that enthusiasm to participate in the political process is hijacked by an unfair political landscape. As discussed on the show, the Electoral Commission was very partisan in its favoritism towards the incumbent and hostile towards the challengers. The application of the laws governing presidential elections were unbalanced.
It is hard to have a fair political process when the laws enforced against the opposition candidates but not the sitting president. As I said on the show, it is hard to encourage large-scale grassroots political participation, when the laws are not applied fairly.
I observed a few polling stations in Kampala and was encouraged at the spirit and enthusiasm of young Ugandans participating in the electoral process. Most of the polling stations were opposition strongholds and the votes counted largely favored the opposition candidates. However, results from most of the polling stations favoring the opposition were not reported.
If the laws were applied freely and fairly and the Electoral Commission stood visibly independent of ALL candidates, I would have accepted another win for our president. The obvious partisanship and outright vote stealing, marred what could have been an extremely great story on political civic engagement. Here’s to hoping for a cleaner, fairer electoral process in 2021.