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Another son of Africa is denied the Presidency - Overwhelming Rigging in Uganda:

By Kuyang Harriet Logo Mulukwat

In Uganda, the mood is somber. The election results are out and the incumbent has been declared as the winner of the recently concluded presidential elections. I followed the presidential campaigns very closely, after all Uganda is my second home. I was not particularly surprised at the outcome because the President of Uganda, has mastered the art of rigging elections and the electoral commission is hardly independent neither are the courts of law. When the western world introduced the concept of democratic governments and the concept of the rule of law, many Pan Africanists were skeptical, but adopted the proposed style of governance anyway. In the 21st Century, Africa is still grappling with the very concept of democratic governance. Elections are now a sham and the interpretation of democratic governance is riddled with contradictions. The single problem with governance in Africa centers on bad leadership – leaders who can do anything to remain in power. Why the hell would a President want to spend 30 years in power and still run for office?

During the presidential campaigns, the main opposition flag bearer Retired Colonel Dr Kizza Warren Besigye pulled ecstatic crowds. The crowds eulogized and worshipped the man they consider to be holding the key to the much needed changes and reforms. In some instances, the masses donated items and money to the main challenger of President Museveni. In many occasions, his supporters carried him shoulder high, amidst a frenzied reception in all his rallies. Besigye campaign song tells a tale of frustration with the current government; the song articulates the situation of all Uganda’s and paints it extremely dire and miserable. The lyrics shun the Bus, a symbol of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and demand for the key a symbol of the main challenger – Besigye. The chorus of the campaign song tells Mr. Museveni to leave and alerts all people that Besigye is coming and moving forward. The video of the campaign song tells it in a much better way because it chronicles all the campaign moments capturing frenzied and ecstatic crowds all looking forward to a change of leadership.

That did not happen, as Ugandans cast their votes openly, the Electoral Commission was cooking results behind the scenes and when the results began to trickle in Mr. Museveni, whose rallies were poorly attended took an early lead. Impossible I thought, but not entirely surprised! How could the incumbent have scored 62% when he could not garner support at the rallies? But such is the trend of elections in Africa, always rigged and no single person in the electoral commission had the integrity to do the right thing. The world watches on a daily basis the horrors that Dr. Besigye is subjected to. Time and again he is arrested for protesting the results and thrown in filthy dungeons! Many observers have declared the electoral process as one riddled with vote rigging and intimidation – one such body has implored the electoral commission to release the results. That will not happen because, as we all know, Mr. Museveni is the chairman of the commission! It is very painful to be a witness to yet another flawed electoral process, but in my pain and disappointment I keep my eyes glued to the well documented moments of Dr. Besigye. The chronicle of his rallies and campaigns speak volumes of the support Besigye commands. It has been a long time since a candidate pulled such crowds. It is on record that the whole of Uganda rallied behind the man they believe will deliver a change and improve their lives. Besigye has made history. He has served a clear purpose – that when people are tired of bad governance they will come forth and support the candidate of their choice.

In the hearts and minds of Uganda, Besigye is the winner of the recently concluded polls and as a supporter from South Sudan, I am convinced that Mr. Museveni has once again rigged his way back to the state house and I hope his conscience allows him to do just that. Some African leaders rushed to congratulate him and again as I noted earlier, these are men of no integrity. Instead of rallying behind Ugandans, they quickly move to congratulate a dictator who time and again rigs his way back into office. All dictatorial regimes have an end – recall Mobutu Seseseko? He was a tyrant, but his time came and he left as one of the most humiliated leaders of his time. Mr. Museveni’s time will come and thanks to his advanced age, he is on his way out.

Our leaders’ lack of integrity and blurred consciences is what impeding Africa’s progress, making poverty is, hunger and disease reign over us! The likes of Nelson Mandela must surely grace this earth once more or else Africa is still a long way from solving its internal problems.

 

The Writer is a South Sudanese Lawyer and a Consultant on Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law and teaches on a part time basis at the College of Law of the University of Juba. She can be reached on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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