Let’s focus on saving lives, not elections

Tuesday June 23 2020


By Johnious Tumusiime

I want to write about the ongoing debate on the scientific campaigns and elections roadmap that was announced by the Electoral Commission chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, last week.

First, I wish to state that scientific campaigns cannot produce leaders who are patriotic and concerned about their people. I was so surprised to hear talk about scientific election campaigns in Uganda today. The people who are behind this roadmap seem to have never been in Uganda before.

While the move would have been unwise for the EC to announce that the campaigns and elections are to be held in the way we have been doing in the past given the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also not right for anyone to say we should go on with campaigns and elections in the current environment because it is a constitutional demand.

A deputy principal at a teachers’ training college used to tell students: “Always use common sense and apply it in all corners of life...”

What is more important - is it life, campaigns, elections or the law? What came for the other? Campaigns came to enhance elections yet elections came to enhance leadership, and leadership came to enhance the law, which was put to improve life. The law came because there was life, but life did not come for the law. In other words, life is the master of all. We cannot use the law to destroy life.

As a country, we must accept that we are at war with the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, let’s focus our attention to that fight until we get victory. Campaigning through television and radio cannot help us to elect leaders of our choice.


How can a voter choose somebody they do not know but only hear their voices on radios or watch them for the first time on TVs?

This system cannot help us to understand our candidates, especially those who will appear on the ballot paper for the first time.

Besides, how many Ugandans have a TV in their homes? And even for those who have TVs, how many people can sit to watch individuals campaign when they have their favourite programmes on different TV channels? Parliament should help the country get a better way forward.