Listen to calls for electoral reforms
Posted Sunday, October 13 2013 at 01:00
Religious leaders, under the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), have added their voice to that of many civil society actors and opposition politicians calling for comprehensive electoral reforms ahead of the next election cycle.
As part of his Independence Day message, Metropolitan Bishop Jonah Lwanga said unless comprehensive reforms are made, the 2016 elections will not be different from the previous elections that have fallen short of democratic expression since they have been characterised by violence, intimidation, bribery, ballot stuffing and all.
Of course, Ugandans have not been in agreement that the previous elections have been flawed or have been flawless because such discussion has always seen everybody descend into their political corner and either defend or rail against the failings in during our elections.
Religious leaders, unlike politicians and some civil society activists, stand on a unique ground that allows them to view events from a non-partisan perspective – at least not openly. Their voice on the need for electoral reforms cannot, therefore, simply be dismissed as the ranting of disgruntled people, who have failed to find resonance with voters and have now turned to blaming the rules.
The government might, therefore, do well to listen to these calls because a free and fair election is at the heart of national peace and harmony. President Museveni and his colleagues in government, launched a guerrilla war in 1980s partly to protest an election perceived as rigged, should perhaps know this more than anyone else.
True, many leaders in Africa have gotten away with flawed elections – some taking the oath of presidency in their bedrooms – but ultimately, this never takes the country forward. Rather it only momentarily covers a festering wound that is bound to explode with disastrous consequences for the country.
It is only two and a half years away to the next elections and if government really wants to make a difference, then the time to move is now.