Over the past weekend, the country has witnessed ugly scenes across the country as the National Resistance Movement Organisation conducted its parliamentary candidate primaries election ahead of the 2021 general election. There were reported cases of voter bribery, intimidation and in some cases violence against the candidates and their supporters. Worse still the media was awash with reports of participants acting in a manner contrary to the Ministry of Health #Covid-19 pandemic guidelines. One wonders what will happen during the general elections when opposition political players will be in the field too.
Elections provide an opportunity for a civil democratic society to hold their political leaders to account at regular intervals. If the leaders do not perform to the electorate’s expectations, the electorate is then provided with an opportunity to vote them out.
Unfortunately, elections in Uganda have been reduced to a show of financial might and power by those in positions of responsibility. This presents a very dangerous trend that has been growing over the years, and if it is not addressed, the electoral process shall continue losing credibility and legitimacy.
These most sacred of democratic tenets are being progressively eroded. They have been eroded by a government, which is averse to any differing political views, to the extent that holding such views is criminalised. The process of NRM internal elections, has unveiled the sad reality that as a country, we have become inwardly and institutionally corrupt, militaristic, patronising, and institutions have been misused, especially the security ones that are expected to be politically impartial.
Many who sacrificed to bring this government into power and rid Uganda of dictatorship did not envisage that the situation would deteriorate to this level. I for one, wanted to see a Uganda that respected democracy and the rule of law. A Uganda that was fair for all, a Uganda where every person had a fair chance in life, where people lived in peace and harmony. That is not where we are now. Something drastic must be done to restore normalcy in this beautiful country.
Renewed Uganda (RU) condemns in the strongest possible terms the violence and chaos that we have seen playing out in the length and breadth of this country. Our neighbours and the rest of the world must be looking on mortified at these scenes. Most importantly we, the people of Uganda, must not accept this as the new normal. We must not allow to be drawn into senseless battles that leave us vulnerable to injustice just because a few individuals want to be elected to certain positions.
Uganda is at a crossroads. We have a chance to choose between a political party which prides itself as the harbinger of chaos or a platform that promises a way forward for the Uganda that we all love. Uganda is a great country. I know this. I have had the chance to serve it in various capacities. I have been very proud to wear the uniform of our national institutions, which has now been reduced to aiding political war-mongers to excel in their game.
With the kind of recriminations that we have watched on television and in the mainstream media for the last few days, this is certainly not where Uganda should be. We condemn and reject this approach. We call for a process that is truly democratic, a free environment, and fair playing field so as to enable Ugandans express themselves without fear or favour. Ugandans across the country are a decent hard working population who look forward to a better tomorrow.
We at RU will continue to work relentlessly to bring that reality to Uganda. Until this is achieved, let us continue to be firm and focused on the road before us. It is only a matter of time.
For God and My Country.
Lt Gen (Rt) Henry Tumukunde.