Makara says what is going on is a problem with government and institutions and not the people.
“So it is a problem of failing institutions in addressing the concerns of the masses,” Makara told The Independent, “Increasingly, people are feeling that those critical institutions are not functioning. It is a vote of no confidence in those two institutions.”
In situations where people think they cannot trust the systems that are in place, Makara added, you will see those things happen.
The Coordinator of Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCCEDU), Crispin Kaheru, also says it is a problem of partisanship of state institutions.
He argues that there is a lot of anger within the public because of various issues that are pressing them and the government’s response or lack of it.
Observers also say that the people have realized they cannot remain quiet on the issues that are currently being discussed.
Apart from the age limit, the other contentious issue is the proposal to amend the constitution to enable government to compulsorily acquire land before compensating land owners.
The constitution amendment bill to amend article 26 on land is before Parliament while the proposal to amend article 102 on the age of Presidential contenders is also expected.
These issues, especially the land issues, observers say, touch on people’s livelihood and that explains why they are expressing their anger in such ways.
Apart from the issues affecting the masses that the government has failed to resolve, observers also say government is reaping what it sowed. They say government has over time sowed the seeds of violence and intolerance, which has made people think it is the only effective way of resolving disagreements.
“Intolerance is on both sides,” says Makara, “When government wants something, it comes out with full force. Members of the public feel pushed to the limit and are now reacting with counter force.”
Kaheru also says the intolerance and physical aggression have been going on for a while and government has been keeping a deaf ear.
“Was it normal that (Minister Abraham) Byandala punched a journalist?” he asks, “Was it normal that Ronald Kibule assaulted a Stanbic Bank guard? Was it normal that Gilbert Bwana pepper sprayed Besigye? Was it normal that Joram Mwesigye beat up and deformed Andrew Kagwa? Why didn’t Cabinet sit and take a position when government officials were assaulting citizens? That goes back to the partisanship of institutions that I have talked about.”
Kaheru says government has failed to appreciate that this anger has been building over time yet that is the only way it can be resolved.
Although this growing culture cannot be averted in a short term, Kaheru says, if government acted with sincerity and in good faith it would reconstruct a different culture of respect and tolerance through value system education and civic education.