By Steven Masiga
The Electoral commission is awakening many political actors out of the Covid-19 slumber to participate in an election that many of them had hitherto written off as postponed to 2023 or even 2026.
Uganda might not be the only country in the world preparing for presidential, parliamentary and local councils election in such a period. Burundi peacefully organized presidential and national assembly elections in May this year (May-20-2020) amidst Covid, and General Ndayishemiye was elected peacefully as head of State.
Malawi is going into another election on June-23-2020 and America is too warming up for a general election in November this year yet they had the worst Covid-19 deaths in the world.
The Electoral Commission in Uganda derives its mandate to conduct elections under Articles 60 and 61 of Uganda’s 1995 constitution other enabling legislations like the presidential, parliamentary and local councils Act 2005.
In Uganda, right from 2001, there has been no presidential or parliamentary election that is organize by the EC that has not gone unchallenged. Refer to the various supreme court rulings brought under the spirit Article 104b, if citizens can challenge the electoral commission work methods during normal times what will be the number of court petitions during elections organized in abnormal periods such as this?
Neverthles, there are benefits political actors will reap in this Scientific Elections in Uganda.
It is public knowledge that politicians during electoral periods lose immensely many things including weight, lose cash, property while others lose lives as anumber are shot and killed by political opponents.
The late Kamana Wesonga was implicated in the death of political actor during elections in Mbale district. Then, politicians develop pressure as negative results trigger after polling and others end up in jail over debts incurred during elections. Here Honourable Kantinti who contested with Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi wine comes in mind.
In Ntungamo during the 2016 parliamentary elections, Hon. Rutukuna clandestinely bought land from his opponent and yet the opponent was selling land to get money and defeat Rukutuna. When the opponent established later that it is Rukutana who had brought his land through another person, went wild but it was already late his land had gone.
There is a possibility of spending less cash and other goodies on voters, President Museveni at some point while campaigning in Bugisu, saw multitudes of lines forming after concluding mammot rally and when he enquired from his minders what the hell, he was told that there is a culture in the region created by a powerful politician who give at least 200000 per person irrespective of the crowd.
Many citizens will miss this freebies as crowding is now out lawed for Health reasons.
There is also a likely reduced influence of Police and Army in our elections as various court rulings have hinted on the possibility of Police and Army influencing our elections in favour of certain persons thus GoU will save monies expended on policing while using security agencies to control rogue crowds affiliated to various political actors.
The tensions that led to injuries and death of people in Arua can too be avoided and since the world is embracing ICT, we should go with the Scientific Elections as it is such a change dictated by Global events learning to adapt and adopt synomous with maturity.
The kind of Elections going to be conducted under amodelof the Scientific Election phrase might deny Ugandans the right to scrutiny and evaluate especially the youthful contenders for the presidential office, thus there is a possibility of veteran contenders having an easy ride as their gait, voice and demeanour including capacity to deliver on their promises are a familiar sight to many.
In Politics, the most critical factor is fulfilling political promises. If you can’t fulfill promises, you pack up and go, stay with your mother as one former Head of State chose to do in Africa.
The Electoral commission should come out to openly explain whether Sec.2 (d) under the Presidential Act is to the effect that parliament should discuss this issue as Parliament.
There is a possibility of such a scientific election in Uganda registering the highest percentage of voter apathy in the history of Uganda if EC doesn’t intensify its efforts on voter education including the practical methods and techniques of a scientific election thus the deaf, elderly and PwDs need early education on this new changes.
It could be posPolitical actors that may have known that there is aroad, signaling a new election in Uganda. What of an ordinary deep in the villages of Bududa or Kabale, do they have such information?
Steven Masiga, a transformative researcher on Education, Governance and Regional politics from MBale.
For comments, reaction, and advise, you can reach him on +256706655811