The just concluded presidential nominations passed off successfully with eleven candidates now slated to be on the 2021 ballot paper, except for the publicity stunt orchestrated by Patrick Oboi Amuriat (FDC), and Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu of the National Unity Platform (NUP). It is worth noting that both belong to the defiance wing of opposition politics that does not believe change can come through the available democratic space.
By Ofwono Opondo
Tomorrow and Tuesday, the Electoral Commission () will nominate presidential candidates in a crowded field for the forthcoming general elections slated for January 14, 2021, but mostly journeymen without substantial offer in policy alternatives for Uganda’s intractable problems. It will be very hard even for the most ardent journalists to remember some of the names.
In ten days time, the winner in US elections between incumbent Donald J. Trump and Democrat rival former vice president, Joe Biden, or ‘’Sleepy Joe’’ as Trump derisively calls him would have been known. Unfortunately because the US has for a very long time acted the world bogeyman due to its military, economic and internationalist might, many Africans have concluded that they cannot influence the dynamics in US.
Passing for a democratic political organisation, the proponents of the People Power activism recently acquired the National Unity Platform (NUP), they now seek to hopefully use and get state power in the forthcoming general elections. However, NUP leaders and their activists need to be advised to calm down because the future can be a rough tumble, and merely being a youth doesn’t confer unrestrained rights and legitimacy.
This week, October, 9, Uganda marked fifty-eight years of Independence from British colonial rule, with the official ceremony held at State House Entebbe by virtual means because of the Covid-19 pandemic under high restrictions on public gathering and social distancing that has become the new normal. On occasions like this in the past we found solace in blaming colonialism and neo-colonialism for the misfortunes.
Author and journalist Phillip Colin’s book “When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches that shape the world and why we need them,” is a line often quoted by many including Michelle Obama, and worth referencing to Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye’s recent falsehoods about the NRM yellow bicycles and motorcycles. Kizza Besigye could be suffering from a disease called Munchausen Syndrome. This disease is an attention-seeking personality disorder which is more common than statistics suggest.
As usual in matters of public policy there are mixed reactions including negative uproars over government’s decision to reopen schools on October, 15, 2020 starting with candidate classes of primary seven, senior four and six, and finalists in tertiary institutions and universities. Not surprisingly, the ubiquitous unsupported rudimentary arguments from some MPs opposing the resumption of schools don’t add much value towards a common clear end point.
With the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) setting nomination timelines for local councils, parliamentary and presidential candidates starting next week, voters now accustomed to the culture of bribes and political freebies, are at the frontline urging or gang pressing candidates who skipped or lost in party primaries to turn up as independent candidates in the general elections.
In the aftermath of last week’s NRM primaries to elect flag-bearers countrywide to contest with candidates from other parties for the eleventh parliament most commentators including those from NRM have regrettably focused more on the few high-profile incidences of rogue behaviour than the massive successes registered. It was heart-warming to see real democracy in practice as local people in open not lining behind ‘powerful’ ministers and MPs, and knowing nothing adverse would happen to them afterwards.
In the past one month, the NRM has dominated news media and public discourse, mostly for very good reasons with its preparations for the nomination of the flag-bearers for president, parliament, district local government chairpersons and councilors, setting the stage for elections that are now underway. After the nominations, NRM convened a virtual National Conference comprising over sixteen thousand delegates to elect Central Executive Committee (CEC) members, which by all accounts went successfully.