The Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura is in Ntungamo district to oversee investigations into the violence that allegedly broke out between the supporters of presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi and those of the rival National Resistance Movement of presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni.
According to the Electoral Commission regulations governing presidential and parliamentary candidates, aspirants and their supporters should not be in the same vicinity at the same time. And indeed, their schedules are designed in such a way that any two opposing sides don’t have their supporters appear in the same vicinity at the same time.
On the day of the skirmishes in Ntungamo it was Mr Mbabazi who was designated to be campaigning in the district, and law enforcement agencies led by the police were supposed to ensure that his campaigns were peaceful and go on uninterrupted. That is one of the raisons d’etrefor the IEC regulations regarding the campaign schedules for the different candidates.
However, as it turned out there was chaos and reports emerged that police efforts at restoring order were subdued by the errant rioters, purportedly representing their two opposing sides.
It is often said that ‘no one has the monopoly of violence’ and that is why all Ugandans of goodwill should try as much as possible to avoid electoral violence, because in the end every one suffers and no one gains: may be we have something to learn from Kenyans on this.
That said however, as the country awaits the findings of the IGP on the Ntungamo violence, there is need for Ugandans to embrace the spirit of fair political competition if the country is to recognize any meaningful democratic gains arising from political pluralism.