The date was the 18th of February 2016, the day that Uganda held its 5th presidential elections since the NRM took power in 1986, and two days later to much of the unexpectation of many Ugandans and the international community, president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was announced the winner of the election by over 62% of the vote.
This in itself is nothing short of a “miracle”, seeing as Mr. Museveni’s popularity polls have been on a downward spiral over the last couple of years.
Seeing as I am definitely not an authority on free and fair elections, having never participated in any (I have voted thrice), I withhold my comment on whether these ones were.
My focus for this article is president Museveni’s victory and how it was miraculously achieved.
If you’ve been following my writings over the past two months, it is no secret my frustrations over the president’s failure… Failure? Refusal… to attend the 1st Presidential debate.
However, his appearance at the 2nd debate was a real campaign savior for sure. I know for a fact that while President Museveni’s popularity is still on a low, an all-time low, he stayed in office this time on merit. He didn’t stay president because the people like him. He didn’t stay president because of a promised future or proven track record. President Museveni stayed president because he showed Uganda that he is the best candidate for the job. I mean, what were those other guys doing? Museveni took everybody to school at the last UG Presidential debate. He seemed the most informed and the most prepared, which makes one wonder why he didn’t show for the 1st one.
Was it so that the ‘wow-factor’ could have a bigger effect on us? Because in truth, it did have an effect on me.
I know that many elite Ugandans who are after ideas and intellect and the ability of one to deliver service were won over to #teamsevo on the 13th of Feb. He showed all his contenders, “You don’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book.” There is no school or shop for experience. What I saw at the debate is what I’d call being on top of one’s game, and it goes without argument that the debate turned out to be one of the president’s greatest allies on his entire campaign trail.
That said, I’d like to propose that since the politicking time is at a close, how about we actually came together for the development of our country. I don’t like that I only get to hear from bright chaps (distinguished gentlemen) like Dr. Bwanika and Maj. Gen. Biraro once every five years. Let’s all get involved. Let’s steer the nation in the direction we want it to go. There are many ways in which we can effect change and cause national progress.
Let’s criticize where we need to, positively and productively. Let’s complement where we need to.
Let’s not have an opposition. Rather, let’s have an expanse of opinions. Let’s voice our opinion rather than simply each oppose the opinion of the other.
Let’s put to use the tools available; social media (keep your VPN thingie close), mass media, press, schools and institutions.
I’d like to commend our security forces on a job well done in containing a situation that some of our candidates were hoping would escalate to civil unrest (you can’t be president thriving on chaos and unrest, Doctor. While its a good strategy to win people’s sympathy, you end up losing the support of those constructive Ugandans and tearing up the nation you say you want to build. And who gets shot at in the end? You? No! The masses following you and leaving destruction in their wake.) Great job done by police and the help from the military (yes! I said it) in keeping stability and order (I intentionally left out ‘law’).
Let’s utilize the stability to thrust our nation forward. Let’s get educated on our history, our rights and freedoms, our systems of governance, the promises made by the government, so that we as a population can bring the government to book and not just follow anyone’s lies around.
Finally, the government should be more accountable to its people than to foreigners. These so-called election observers… I look forward to a time when the opinion of Ugandans will matter in Ugandan politics more than that of the west.
For God and My Country.
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