By Stephen Twinoburyo
At the time Museveni changed the constitution, he had so much credibility and was highly respected both within and outside the country.
Him and the country had so much to lose and many people (including Mandela) begged him not to change the constitution. After the constitution was amended, I told people that if Museveni was willing to sacrifice all that to meet his personal ends, nothing else was going to convince him to leave presidency. Uganda has never been the same and 20 years on, we are still stuck in the same mired gutter.
We have been going through the motions of elections, often with torture, terror, blood and questionable results, to legitimise his incumbency. Ugandans need to accept that elections under the current leadership will never reflect the will of the people. From where I stand, the 2016 elections and the conduct of the electoral commission, the president, the military heads, the police boss and any NRM zealot that holds any office of some sort, make the 1980 elections look too good.
Below is an amazing statement by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission about the main opposition leader. How will such a man act impartially towards the candidate?
There is a big difference between winning an election and being declared the winner. Sadly in Uganda, the declaration is everything.
From the results already declared, at a polling station in Museveni’s home area, he is reported to have got 760 votes, his main rival, Kiiza Besigye, got 2 votes and all the other candidates got nothing. It’s interesting however to note that the number of votes cast reportedly exceeds the names on the voters, register by 325. Maybe this gives meaning to the joke that always makes rounds after every presidential election that in that area, even cows vote.
Another bizzare thing is that in the Kampala and Wakiso area, where the electoral commission is headquartered, almost all the polling stations opened late and it took more than 8 hours for voting material to get to some polling stations. Is it a coincidence that this densely populated area happens to be the opposition stronghold?
We are of course being asked to respect and accept the result that will finally be announced by the Electoral Commission chair. That’s indeed a big ask considering what’s been happening. Listening to results is one thing. But respecting and accepting them is another. If the 1980 elections could not be accepted, I wonder how much more these should. If I stand out to say I don’t accept and respect the outcome of an electoral process out of the way it has been managed, I’m at liberty to say so.
Elections have become the best gift to have come into the hands of African dictators. They give legitimacy to their repressive and corrupt regimes, and endlessly keep them in power.
If Ugandans rejected the 1980 outcome, they can still reject this one if they believe it does not represent their will. It doesn’t mean they have to go to the bush like Museveni did or act violently but they can still reject an outcome that does not represent them. I am ready to be counted among those who stand and will stand against any unfairness and injustice of the electoral process.