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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Electoral Reforms Are Too Important To Be Left To Politicians Alone

The NRM Government is failing us on electoral reforms. President Museveni has on several times had the opportunity to address Ugandans but he has chosen to duck the issue on electoral reform showing Ugandans that he is not one for running things, but one for staying on the horse.

In the reply to Amama Mbabazi MP, we saw Mr. Museveni’s habitual work of yielding to pressure, even if it boxes him into an inescapable corner thereby giving an impoverished gambit. On one side, we have a President that is into small-time politics. One that lives on hand to mouth. On the other, we have a Parliament that is not keen on Electoral reform.

Both Mr. Museveni and Parliament are missing the opportunity to lift our sights beyond the quotidian. On May 30, 2015, Local Government Day celebrations in Kyaggwe, The Kabaka urged that a Government must listen carefully to its people and implant their wishes. The politics of two ‘elephants’ will only make us suffer however, the politics of values will change Uganda forever. As Ugandans, we must demand the leadership we want not the power tussle that politicians want. We are the many, they are the few, tussling for power.

We need to influence politics away from power tussle, to politics that builds the nation. Also to influence politics away from those that have something to talk about of 1986 but nothing to talk about of 2015. We need politics that applies our values to the future, puts Uganda at the centre and recognises that we cannot talk about equity and fairness if there is no equity at the ballot box. Mr. Museveni needs to be reminded that Uganda cannot be ruled by blind fate.

We cannot continue stockpiling on fear of change. We need to make sure that we have electoral reform before the general elections so that there is a clear indication that there is a level playing field, which means changing the political currency from guns to free and fair elections. @tomddumba 1 of 3 Tuesday, 23 June 2015 Thomas Ddumba We have seen the erosion of our politics but that should not stop us from fighting for a level playing field at the ballot box. We should not concede on what is fair. Electoral reforms are too important to be left to politicians alone.

We, as Ugandans need to join together and demand what is rightful, end politics without values. Together, we can uplift Uganda from political ruin, decay to political order. We need to look politicians in the eyes and remind them that the depths of our values matters more than the depth of their pockets. Uganda has never held a credible election, never chosen its own future and the elections between 1996 and 2011 have shown us that Mr. Museveni has always come in and loaded the dice to rig in own favour, electoral reform avoids this happening.

History teaches us that The French revolution laid the basis for an impersonal modern state and despite the fact that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, he led to the development and promulgation in 1804 of Europe’s first modern law code, the Civil Code. This was a major advance that made the French Government less arbitrary, more transparent, and more uniform in its treatment of citizens. Just like Napoleon, Dr. Kiiza Besigye has been instrumental on electoral reform. The courts have agreed with him twice that Mr. Museveni had driven a coach and horses through election law. Dr. Besigye has though continued his quest for what is fair.

On the March to Washington with Martin Luther King, there was no spectator, 200,000 demonstrators took part to demand Jobs and Freedom. We too need to come circle Uganda’s unfinished revolution. We owe it to our fellow Ugandans that have lost their lives in the struggle for free and fair elections. Just like the crowds on the March to Washington, they are the real change makers, those whose names are not recorded in the books of our political history but have been there to demand for change.

And so, when we saw Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere win a landmark Judgment that was important in levelling the electoral playing field, allowing political parties to participate more freely in public life, we saw not just one man, we saw all who fought and campaigned for multiparty politics in Uganda. This is about us adding to the gains of Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, setting the underlying rules by which we organise and define political order. To achieve this, we need to come together, show politicians that we are all one, that we cannot be diced, show the same spirit of togetherness, same pride like we show when our own lift the Ugandan flag higher than any diplomat.

Electoral reform means that the temperatures of politics are lowered from the burning to the bearable and also that future elections will never be a matter of life or death for any Ugandan. Added to this, is the need to encourage Ugandans, that are over sixty years of age to join Dr. Zac Niringiye as guardians of Uganda who can use their positions in society in favour of electoral reform which is the commonweal than to enter competitive politics. Some might feel that Electoral reform or political order has nothing to do with their daily lives, but I believe we all share the view that political decay has a part to play in the weakening of the Uganda Shilling towards UGX 3500 per Dollar or UGX 5,200 per Pound Sterling and the Bank of Uganda’ s fighting a losing battle to reverse the rout in the currency.

I also believe that we all know about the huge surge in unemployment, teachers who are always at the mercy of payday loan sharks because the NRM Government has on several times failed to honour its side of the bargain when their payday comes. More so, of the unending corruption scandals that are the other side of the coin because of lack of probity and citizens with no voice. During the protests in Burundi, the protesters chanted, “this is not Uganda” thereby accusing us of being the dog in the manger about the political direction of our future.

On May 10, 2015, Mothers’ Day the women in Bujumbura joined the anti-third protests showing that you can cannot suppress @tomddumba 2 of 3 Tuesday, 23 June 2015 Thomas Ddumba people that are afraid no more. They showed us that you cannot humiliate the person who has got pride and it is up to us to learn that happiness is about more than what you earn and own.

The Burundians showed us that collectively, we should be maddened by the political decay, and the answer is that, collectively, if we change our mindset, we can actually do something about it. That we can win on electoral reform, not by buying up radio space or outdoor advertising, but by having millions of conversations with other Ugandans, at work, in our communities.

Explaining what is at stake and the future we want, house by house, street by street, town by town because once you have learnt something, nobody can unteach it. When Cicero spoke the Romans, they said, “great speech”. But when Demosthenes spoke they turned to each other they said, “let’s march”. Fellow Ugandans, let’s not kick electoral reforms in the long grass. Let’s march for fairness, Justice and the leadership through electoral reform. It is all we need right now, and let’s march for it together.

About the writer:

Thomas Ddumba
Email: tomddumba@yahoo.co.uk

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