Elections will be fair, Credible, Peaceful, and Uganda Secure
The sun is setting on election campaigns slated to end on Tuesday next week and Ugandans vote Thursday January 14 to choose a president, most certainly Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni and majority MPs from NRM going by all the credible opinion polls conducted so far. NRM already has fifteen MPs-elect declared unopposed by the Electoral Commission because opposition parties failed to field candidates against them.
Tracking polls show that the NRM popularity is spread countrywide with small and isolated pockets of opposition groupings mainly FDC, NUP, DP, UPC, and large swaths of independents candidates who lost in the chaotic NRM primaries. But even that strong showing on the ground hasn’t dissuaded opposition parties, sections of the media, local NGOs and critics from spreading wild and malicious accusations that NRM can only win through multiple layers of fraud.
Consequently, some opposition leaders like Kizza Besigye who this time chickened out of the race, Patrick Amuriat, and Robert Kyagulanyi have been very loud throwing fire disguised as ‘Plan B’ and urging their supporters to go “vote’’ and ‘’don’t leave the polling stations”. This, according to them, is meant to protect their votes from being ’stolen’, when it is in fact, a plan to subvert the rule of law. But as cowards, they will ask their followers to supply courage where their own is lacking.
As charlatans and rabble-rousers the trio have been generating, spewing and fanning wild conspiracy theories including claims that there are assassination attempts on their lives. These people have authored their own indictment and the evidence is on their lips. If this obeisance and quiescence are permitted to hold, Ugandans could reap bitter harvests.
The countrywide election threat assessment made by government indicates that Uganda remains peaceful, stable, secure and tranquil, and an overwhelming majority of Ugandans will remain law abiding. The posture of security and law enforcement agencies like Intelligence, police, UPDF, Local Defence Units, and general public vigilance is high and robust to quickly deal with and neutralize any public disorder threats.
Nevertheless, Covid19, terrorism, cyber attack, common criminality, isolated incidences of election violence, voter bribery, intimidation and suppression, hostile media, undue foreign influence, technological and social media misuse to spread hate speech and fake news remain latent and high. The other threat include presidential candidates who claim will set up own tally centres to announce and declare their results. Also, there is fear that crowding in polling stations and tally centres especially by candidate’s agents, election observers and journalists could cause unmitigated spread of Covid19.
Already, there are recurring incidences of confrontation with police, civil disobedience, intimidation, assault, and spread of malicious messages aimed at disinformation especially by opposition elements in what appears to be well-thought out, planned, coordinated and hugely financed.
While people have largely focused on the presidential election many are not adequately aware of the elections of special interest groups and youths of more than three thousand leaders slated for Monday and Tuesday next week. The presidential and parliamentary elections will be followed by that of Municipal and district Councilors and Chairpersons, where NRM victory has already been sealed because hundreds of thousands sailed unopposed on account of a thin opposition. The lat set of elections will be that the regional youth MPs and Municipal Division leaders on February 1st and 2nd respectively.
The array of boastful political groups had tried for years to build one front coalition hoping to win the presidency and, ultimately end Museveni’s leadership as well as NRM revolution. Now, the political survival of Kizza Besigye, Patrick Amuriat, Mugisha Muntu, Norbert Mao, Henry Tumukunde and Robert Kyagulanyi is on the line as none of them will be the next parliament to roam around.
NRM members and supporters ought to know that this a watershed election to shape, determine and install a Museveni successor, most certainly from within the NRM. Therefore, even with few days remaining to polling, NRM mobilisers must have the long-term strategic view hence the imperative to win and control parliament and LCs to solidify NRM’s endurance beyond Museveni.
The Eleventh parliament, Local Councils alongside NRM party structures are going to be the next powerhouse, and therefore NRM must not cede any ground. The opposition and their allies in the civil society shouldn’t be permitted to kick sand in our eyes. NRM needs every vote right now and that can only come through total unity of purpose. And NRM should leave the array of opposition candidates and groups deal with their own internecine wars like that between Matthias Mpuuga and Mukasa Mbidde in Masaka or Besigye, Muntu, Mao and Kyagulanyi to slug it out on their own their own. That civil war within the opposition is very good for NRM because it demonstrates their fickle nature to the public as simply greedy people who cannot shelter individual egos for the larger good.
NRM youths, women, veterans, PWDs and elderly must go out to energinise their bases to come out to vote and stay alert to protect the votes, and not get intimidated by hooligans.