From the time voting ended and counting started in Kenya, there has been an argument that the elections in Kenya are different from the elections in Uganda and that as a country we ought to pick lessons from the Kenyan elections. The people making that arguments are mostly from Ugandan opposition who include among many Semuju Nganda and the NUP secretary general plus other civil society activists. However, as they make those arguments they do not consider the behavior of Ugandan opposition politicians during electioneering in Uganda. They do not talk about how the opposition politicians incite violence both through the statements they make on campaign trail and also paying off youth to burn tyres on the Ugandan streets. They’re not talking about how the opposition in Uganda turn the election into a do or die business without putting in consideration the other side of the election which is losing. Because nobody goes to polls with one hope of losing you must expect the two that is loss or win. The Ugandan opposition doesn’t mind about the stability of the country both during elections and after the election and that’s why the security organization must always be on high alert. Also it should be noted that we have never experienced the violence that Kenya faced one time leading to the death of about ten thousand people.
The Ugandan Civil society activists who are praising Kenyan electoral process are not talking about the monies which they usually release to the opposition to fund the youth by buying tyres to burn on Ugandan roads as a way of opposing the government in power. They’re also not talking about the adverts they sponsor on different Media houses that are usually intended to incite violence and which the government through the UCC usually stop. The civil society activists are not talking about the funds that their organizations usually release during elections Uganda to fund Political campaigns of opposition of which they disguise as funds meant for humanitarian activities in the communities. They do not talk about openly siding with the opposition always and blocking their eyes from seeing anything positive about the sitting government but rather only the negative side. They’re not being prudent enough to talk about how they try whatever means possible to sponsor the violent activities of the opposition of which the opposition show accountability by shedding blood. If Indeed they would be fighting for free and fair elections then they would consider supporting both the party in power and the opposition then they leave the people of Uganda to make their own decisions. The Civil society is also not talking about how they usually come out to defend the opposition by releasing statements to the media even before hearing from the side of the government.
The opposition politicians who are praising the electoral process in Kenya and castigating the Ugandan electoral process do not consider the bad language which they usually use during and after the elections. They do not talk about the frequent provoking of armed security personnel and sometimes stoning them. They’re not talking about how they openly disrespect the guidelines of the Ugandan electoral commission without fear, arguing that those guidelines are meant to favour the ruling party and frequently say that the electoral commission works for the sitting government. However when the same electoral commission declares the opposition candidates as winners, they praise the Commission and say that the activity has been free and fair and that the commission has followed the will of the people. To them the elections transparent, free and fair only when they win in instances when they lose, then the elections are not free and fair.
It should be made known to every Ugandan that the social media is always regulated in Uganda during elections because of how it’s abused by mostly the extremists and radicals who usually think that in an election they must win and if they don’t win the party in power has rigged. The social media in Uganda is always regulated because of the messages sent out to the public calling upon the public to cause commotion and interfere with the general security of the country. Social media is always regulated because of the agents of the opposition politicians in Uganda who doctor election results and also produce Parallel results different from what the electoral commission releases. I have not seen any blogger in Kenya posting old images from other countries concocting violent situations with an aim of causing fear in the public, I have not seen a single blogger in Kenya using Photoshopped images with an aim of causing havoc in the country, the Photoshopped images I have seen in Kenya have only been meant for cracking jokes about candidates. I did not see anywhere in Kenya where a candidate was advised not to do something by the police but they insisted to say that they must do it. Probably everyone in Kenya was respecting the laws that guide the elections and none of them disrespected those rules.
I didn’t see anywhere in Kenya where people were forced by opposition activists to remove tshirts of the rival candidate. I hope Ugandans remember how an old woman on Kampala streets was forced to remove the yellow tshirt of NRM because some people were not comfortable with it. I did not see anywhere in Kenya where the convoy of a certain candidate was attacked and stoned by the supporters of the rival candidate like it is done in Uganda. I didn’t see anywhere in Kenya where a candidate gathered a number of youth and started training them on how to protect their votes yet there’s a well trained security apparatus in the country which is supposed to do that job. There’s no where in Kenya, where I saw people defacing and replacing posters of another candidate like it is usually done in Uganda. I agree that we need to pick lessons from the Kenyan elections but I feel the Ugandan opposition need to pick more lessons than the party in power.
This will obviously improve on their behaviors during elections and we shall always have smooth electoral process like it is happening in Kenya. The presence of security personale during and after elections in Uganda is always to keep sanity because business must continue even during elections.
It is also important to note that Ugandans do not run to outside countries during elections while anticipating violence like we saw in Kenya. Ugandans always remain in their country because security does it’s best to keep them safe both during elections and after elections. President Museveni has always been categorically clear on interfering with our country ‘s security because our country’s stability is our first priority and that’s why Uganda remains a home to millions of people from around East Africa and beyond.
The writer is a deputy RDC Kyenjojo District.