Saturday February 27 2016

Let’s stop animosity, preach reconciliation

Local leaders in Kiruhura District have urged the winners of the ruling NRM party in the just concluded elections to stop bragging that they are reaping big from the government and the Opposition is losing out.

The Kiruhura District NRM chairman, Sedrack Nzeire, and other local NRM leaders made the call on Monday while celebrating President Museveni’s victory in the presidential race.

Nzeire challenged his NRM colleagues to work for unity of all people both from the NRM and the opposition in order to develop their area and country.

This is a welcome gesture that should be emulated by other leaders in other parts of the country to restore harmony after friction and hostility during the election campaigns threatened to tear the population apart. Nzeire warned against NRM adopting the UPC slogan of twariire (we have already won).

Often during elections emotions run high and society is torn apart by political rivalry. But after the election when the storm calms down and sanity is restored, people should put all these behind their back and revert to their former co-existence.
Nzeire and his colleagues should be commended for their call for reconciliation. However, a mere call cannot heal the wounds of the injured, especially those who were harassed and brutalised during the elections, and deliver tangible reconciliation.

Such a call should be accompanied by genuine apology from the offenders to the victims of election brutality or unfairness. The winners must show remorse about the wrongs they committed against their opponents or losers.

It is such remorseful gesture that will encourage the losers, especially those who still feel they were cheated and mistreated, to forget the past and forgive their tormentors.

And the winners should ensure there are no recurrences of similar incidents that can reopen the wounds and fuel further hostility and animosity rather than cultivate reconciliation.

For instance about the same time, or immediately after the Kiruhura leaders urged their NRM colleagues to reconcile with the Opposition losers, the police were raiding Opposition offices in Mbarara and arresting the FDC party officials and members under dubious claims of involvement in subversion.

The EC must ensure that full results are readily available online. They should also consider publishing the same in mass outlets .
Such behaviour by police or the EC cannot encourage or create sustainable national reconciliation and heal the animosity the election has left behind.