In Uganda today, there is, going on right now, a very intense debate, or battle as some would say. This battle, the stakes in this battle far outweigh the American one going on in the US. Why, you may ask. Well, while the US battle was intended to right a ship precariously going off course, out ship, our Uganda, is sinking. Thus ours is an existential threat we are facing. There is a pending "election"; that word is in quotation marks because over time, we have come to believe that what happens in Uganda is not really a practice in democracy. It is not that people cast their votes; their votes get counted and the winner becomes the leader of the country. through anecdotal accounts, often by the very people who have carried out these atrocities against the people, the current regime has stolen election after election. Here are some of the examples heard first hand from the people who did it:
1. Pre-checking of ballots: This gentleman stated that he and many others would spend the election eve, marking ballots. He stated "you could check until your hand would hurt".
2. Another such cadre, on a totally different occasion, stated they would take the pre marked ballots and give them to different cadres who would then stealthily, insert them in the ballot box. "How could they do that, I asked". "Oh, easy", he answered; you stuff a number of them up your sleeve and once you go into the voting booth, where you are by yourself, you then pull them down and into the main box.
3. Where the above two methods of stealing failed, two more methods were revealed to me in casual conversation;
i) One was returning officer and one time, while on their way to the ballot boxes collecting center, a pickup truck blocked them off; men jumped out, brought out ballot boxes and took away the ones they were carrying; and, oh, to woe their feelings, they through them some money.
ii) the other method, if all that fails, is at the tallying level; since most, if not all, returning officers are cadres, it is easy to change the end results; a 1 can turn into a 7; a 6 into and 8, so does the 3, and so on. Two things are a direct result of this wanton rape of the peoples' voice:
a) The result has been a serious voter apathy that has left out the majority of the voters. The problem is, if you do not vote, others (perhaps the stuffed ballots mentioned above), will vote in your place.
b) The second even more serious problem, is the people now sell their votes for 'gifts' from the ruling party people.
If we do not wrestle power back into the hands of the people, we shall never have peace and prosperity in the country. Why is this so important?
Extractive vs inclusive governments
Countries that allowed extractive governments to thrive, Spain, Greece, Portugal, etc... lost out to those that were more progressive.
A leap of Faith
No one goes into battle 100% sure they will come back home. no one goes into an election expecting a landslide. it always takes a leap of faith. (Kierkegaard)