There is life after elections

NUP supporters march on the streets of Omoro Town after nomination of their candidate, Simon Toolit Akecha on May 12, 2022. PHOTO | TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

It is decision day in Omoro County. The Electoral Commission opens polls in the morning today for the people of Omoro to vote to fill the void left by the Late Jacob Oulanyah, former Speaker of Parliament. This should be an election and nothing more or less.

Unfortunately, the political setting in Uganda tends to tilt toward the painful episodes most of the time elections are held. It is often worse in by-elections where main political parties concentrate a lot of resources in a particular constituency. Already, there have been too many unwanted stains in the Omoro by-election – from widespread incidents of voter bribery and intimidation to clashes by rival supporters and even death as reported by some Opposition mobilisers.

Whereas there is every reason political parties should be leaving no stone unturned in trying to win this election, the power they clamour for is not in anyone’s hand but with the deceased.

Ultimately, a transfer of power from the dead should be done with utmost respect. This is what defines us as Africans.

Clashes and dirty politics amount to dancing on the grave of the deceased. It has been reported that some of the top politicians campaigning in the area have paid their respects to the deceased former Speaker by visiting his final resting place. Such good gestures should not be followed by ugly scenes.

Recent by-elections in the country have been noticeably violent and it is the hope of the nation that all parties involved remember that there is life after Omoro. Some of those who have been encamped in Omoro will be returning to their homes far from the north. They must return in one piece because there is only ever one winner in any political vote: life.

Whereas life in a dead democracy can be absurd, it is still life; a gift like none other. There will be efforts to protect the ballot, vigilance to monitor malpractices, and the will to uphold democratic ideals upon which the election is supposedly organized, on the ground today.

But we also recognize the cardinal responsibility of every citizen to shun electoral malpractices and fight it to as far as their will can take. To this, the responsible persons, including the security organs, must exercise the will of the Constitution of this nation. While this might be too much to ask for certain stakeholders in this electoral process, we must never stop demanding their responsibility.

Let this country, for once, go into a by-election in which everyone leaves the polling stations and returns home in one piece. It has almost become tradition for police cells to be the home many persons involved in elections spend nights in.

This is not why we go to polls; we must all be in Omoro to forge ahead with life in the post Jacob Oulanyah era.

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