President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called upon all Ugandans aged 18 and above to register with the Electoral Commission (EC), so as to be able to vote during the 2021 Elections.
The Electoral Commission is currently updating the National Voters Register and the exercise will continue until December 27, 2019.
As such, Museveni has urged Ugandans who have not yet registered to do so and those that already did to verify their voters’ details.
The President’s appeal is contained in a statement he issued and circulated on his social media platforms and those of all government agencies, which is reproduced here verbatim;
Below is President M7 Statement
Greetings to all of you Ugandans. On New Year’s Day, I will make a broadcast where I will give a detailed report of whatever is happening. However, for today I wanted to salute the Electoral Commission for registering voters and also for extending the registration time because a number of them had not registered.
As you know very well, part of the problem of Uganda was the mismanagement of democracy. We had elections in 1961 and 1962 but they were badly organized. There were so many mistakes, many of them deliberate. I have had occasion to enumerate those, I do not want to repeat them here.
When we had those elections in 1962, there was one structural problem, that of people who were elected on the ticket of the Democratic Party (DP) or Kabaka Yekka (KY) or the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), getting to Parliament and changing sides. They called it “okusala eddiro” (crossing the floor) and they just went to where people did not elect them.
That was part of the problem because many of the DP MPs, including the leader of the Opposition, Bazilio Bataringaya, crossed over to UPC and many of the KY MPs.
That was sabotage of democracy because if elected people do not “okweguya” (feel obliged) to explain to the voters or to be held responsible by the voters for whatever they are doing then you get a disconnection. It means that the elected people do not care what the voters think.
That was caused by that structural problem. Kenya had handled it well because in 1966 some of the KANU members changed sides and formed KPU but they agreed that if you change sides, you go back to the people who elected you and seek their endorsement. It ensured a continuous linkage between the elector and the elected during the term of Parliament.
But in Uganda, the idea was that once one was elected, they did not care about what the voter thought. The elected leader could do their own things.
In our own Parliament, we have had that problem of the “Rebel MPs”, elected as NRM but conduct themselves like they are not NRM. The Constitutional Court made a mistake because when we asked them to interpret Article 83 that we deliberately put in the Constitution to solve the problem of the 1960s, they interpreted it in such a manner that the MP can do what they want. That the MPs do not have to get permission from those who elected them to do what they are supposed to do. It is a very dangerous disconnection, that of non-accountability.
The second disconnection is cheating. People who manipulate the electoral register to cheat. They place voters where they should not be. They ballot stuff. Sometimes they even alter results after they have been announced.
All that is aimed at rendering the voters meaningless because if I can be elected by cheating then I do not have to “okweguya” the voters. I don’t have to go back and provide services to them or go back and make sure what is supposed to be done is done because I will be elected anyway by cheating. So why should “okweguya” (to feel indebted or obliged or fear my electorate). The cheating interferes with “okweguya”.
The third disconnection is the use of money. This one is a mistake where the voters are also involved. You are given some little personal money and then you vote for the one who gave you that little money.
Then you forget that the task of the MP is to “okusakila” (to get services and development for your area); to struggle for the roads, the water, schools, wealth creation (OWC), to bring those government programs to you.
That is why you elect an MP. And the one who can do it better is the one you should elect. Now if you abandon that and instead vote for the one who gave you Shs500 or Shs1,000, that means you are like Esau in the Bible who sold his birthright to Jacob.
Therefore, first, you should know that the vote is a cleanser, a means of cleansing the political system, to make sure that the people have power. It captures the sovereignty of the people, that they have the ultimate power.