Us, not US, should save our country

Bishop Zac Niringiye signs on a banner during the launch of the campaign against electoral fraud in Kampala on Monday. The event was also attended by (L-R) the Chief Executive Officer of Human Rights Network Uganda, Mr Mohammed Ndifuna, Sheikh Muhammed Katuramu and Fr Masembe. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA

What you need to know:

The issue: Electoral fraud

Our view:  Nonetheless, It is never too late for us, as compatriots, to seize chance for political and electoral dialogue to sort out our mess, and not warrant external forces to do it for us.

We don’t require the United States of America, but ourselves, to save our country from the cyclic afflictions of electoral fraud and violence. But our cries with every election have become singsongs that are attracting sharper rejoinders from foreigners, more than from us; the afflicted.

The latest to raise their voices at the domestic level are the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (ICRU), who said they were troubled by tie alleged electoral malpractice and violence that manifested in the Kayunga District Council chairperson (LC5) bye-election last week.

But the sequence of our electoral outcomes, including for the January 14 poll, has left the country “sharply divided and wounded and required healing.”

This observation by Anglican Archbishop Kazimba about our general election shows that as a country, we have forgotten nothing and learnt nothing from our previous experiences.

As has been with previous elections, the heat from the 2021 polls are palpable, but remain bottled up.

Invariably, the sources of tension in all previous elections in 1980, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and now, have been blamed on electoral violence, non-credible, not free, and unfair polls with a biased electoral umpire.

Perhaps it should be now that the prickles should begin to poke our conscience into wakefulness.

Just like the Archbishop has warned: “These recurring incidences of violence in our electoral cycles are undermining our efforts towards building civilized society and post-Covid-19 recovery as they damage our national image globally.”

Indeed, the Archbishop warnings on Monday in Kampala come hot on the heels of our report that the US is pushing for tougher action on human rights violators’ (Sunday Monitor, December19).

America, in a statement issued on Thursday by the spokesperson of the US Embassy in Kampala, Mr Anthony Kujawa, warned that the US is committed to the use of what he described as a “full range of tools” against the perpetuators in any part of the world.

He said: “That (action) includes not only punitive measures against those who commit gross violations of human rights and suppress democracy, but also apolitical measures to strengthen democratic institutions, strengthen civil society capacity, and support local human rights defenders and local initiatives to promote citizen participation in the democratic process,”

These measures by external players, point to our own moral frailty of being unable to manage our own affairs amicably.

Nonetheless, It is never too late for us, as compatriots, to seize chance for political and electoral dialogue to sort out our mess, and not warrant external forces to do it for us.

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