Hold election violence perpetrators accountable

Monday January 18 2021

Protesters barricade a road in Kampala during riots that erupted on November 18, 2020. About 54 people were killed in the riots. PHOTO | STEPHEN OTAGE

By Editor

Last week, the long awaited general elections for President and Members of Parliament finally took place with a big voter turnout at various polling stations. 

The voting process itself was fairly peaceful and successful with only a few glitches such as slow or faulty biometric machines, flouting of Covid-19 guidelines and delays at some polling stations. 

Now that the voting has been completed and the results announced, the real work to rebuild the nation begins. 

The violence in form of firing of bullets, teargas and roughing up of candidates and the general public cannot simply be swept under the carpet just because voting has ended and winners and losers have been announced. 

Some events cannot be glossed over for instance, the 54 lives that were lost in the November 2020 riots, the way the media was treated by security agencies, to mention but a few. 

There has got to be some sort of national healing and reconciliation, it cannot just be back to business as usual as if nothing wrong happened. 


Yes, dwelling on the past is not progressive but pretending it did not happen is wrong. There must be acceptance of poor judgement and use of unnecessary force on the citizenry and remorse for the wrongdoing .

 Those accountable must be brought to book. Ignoring the pain, anguish, bitterness, injustices and tremendous loss that characterised the past few months only postpones and breeds toxicity which if triggered could be explosive and detrimental to our nation. Selective amnesia does not will scars away. 

Healing and reconciliation will also be influenced by how leaders react to loss or victory. In every election, there must be losers and winners.

 The latter, if they are convinced of the fairness of the process, are expected to concede and if not, seek legal redress. 

For the sake of peace and justice, we hope that this will be the case. For those who won, after the celebrations and jubilation, delivery on all or at least most of what was promised to constituents during the campaign season is expected. 

While we commiserate with those who lost their seats and thank them for a job well-done in past terms, we congratulate the winners, especially the new faces who will grace our Parliament for the next five years. 

But rather than brush off the outgoing leaders as sore losers, it would be wise for the new and old to reconcile and find a working relationship, pass on lessons learnt to establish a semblance of continuity in leadership and service delivery.