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Friday, June 2, 2023

Praying to the God of Elections

Just a day or two into the Presidential campaigns and I already have an idea what it must feel like to be God; the God of 34 million Ugandans. Understandably, the people have many problems, some of them so big; it seems they may require the intervention of God himself. That is where the Presidential candidates come in. For the next 100 days or so, the seven men and one woman must sharpen their ears well, because the Ugandans’ wish list is long.

From the first few campaign stops, the people have not been shy about their demands; they want seedlings, cows, electricity, drugs in hospitals, cash for women’s groups, safe water, an increase in teachers’ pay, and houses for widows and orphans, jobs, better schools, expanding towns and a reduction of inflation. And these are the wishes of only a few individuals picked out of the crowd. I wonder what sort of dreams and aspirations one could gather if they interviewed just one parish with 1000 people. This is where the presidential candidates require the patience of God himself.

When they retire to their homes, ears abuzz with the people’s demands, the candidates may not be able to help themselves. The next day, it will be very tempting to promise all kinds of things; budgeted and unbudgeted, possible and impossible, in the hope that the people will not be able to tell the difference. So far, we have been promised the return of Federo, money for NAADS, the magical end to corruption, hospitals, roads, you name it.

As a believer, I have often been told that God gets to say No to some of our prayers if he believes that what we ask is not good for us. He (or she) may also ask us to wait if the timing of our prayers is not the best but that has never stopped us from asking. Every minute and every second we are on our knees asking for more, bigger and better.

Being only human, the candidates’ task is further complicated for they shall not have the luxury to say no. They will attempt to please everyone. That is how some taxes got scrapped in previous election campaigns. Someone dared to ask and voila, it was done.

True, canvassing for votes across more than 200 constituencies in barely three months is bound to be a logistical nightmare but the hardest task for the candidates will definitely be how to fight the urge to play God.

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