By Morris DC Komakech
Focus should be less on colourful campaigns and more on safeguarding the ballot boxes
Many commentators have criticised opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s decision to run for President for the fourth time after he had vowed never to contest in the same elections with President Yoweri Museveni, especially before elaborate electoral reforms are implemented.
We must understand that Museveni is not interested in implementing electoral reforms since the current laws favor him and express his desires to dominate unfettered. And, for a regime as mindlessly corrupt as the NRMO, issues of legitimacy, collective consensus, and morals are subordinated to their Machiavellian thrusts.
Besigye’s real trial, therefore, is actually his ability to safeguard the integrity of the ballot boxes, and prevent adulteration of ballot counts.
The NRM is certainly formatted to operate without an opponent or a civil society to start with.
The system still operates on the false assumptions of “All Inclusive”, which is a communist deception, where certain leadership positions and privileges are ring-fenced. No wonder then, that the notion of “sole candidacy” is Stalinist, and not peculiar to Museveni.
In 1946, Stalin was declared a sole candidate with his infamous Fourth Five -Year Plan.
Recently, Amanya Mushega, a former Museveni Minister, and now Opposition FDC elder, revealed that the sole candidacy idea was first mooted in 2001 when Besigye emerged to challenge the status quo. Subsequently stunts by MP Okot Felix Ogong and others who tried to challenge Museveni, made ring-fencing of the Party’s Chairmanship inevitable.
Given the prevailing developments, one can draw a logical conclusion that President Museveni is not fond of elections and democracy. His refusal to effect electoral reforms draws from his fear of the true exercise of people’s power, most of which, he has usurped.
Typically, the President prefers to superimpose himself above others, to exploit every advantage and vulnerabilities of his opponents, and to exert absolute dominance until all kneel before him. He is the type who derives excessive pleasure from punching and kicking already incapacitated opponents.
The challenges of dealing with someone who is diabolically opposed to civil methods of moderating and distributing state power, dictates that Besigye should come up with innovative approaches to defeat Museveni.
I predict that Besigye will again emerge as the legitimate challenger to President Museveni for 2016. The other Candidates will be there to bid for the perpetuation of the Museveni hegemony. They already play an important role in legitimising the electoral process, however fraudulent, so that the mainstream opposition is pressured into participating.
However, Besigye’s place in the conscience of the nation is long consolidated, as that of a President in the waiting. Besigye and his team ought to take advantage of this advantage, before they start to fade. FDC should not spend too much time in campaigns. They have already proven to be competent at proposing and communicating superior policy options at every election.
Unfortunately, policy proposals weigh very little for the forthcoming elections given the artifices of Museveni. The real thrust of any serious opposition to President Museveni’s might – given his inexhaustible incumbency advantages – is to draw concrete, convincing, and viable steps to subvert the looming electoral fraud; ballot stuffing, and adulteration of results.
To this end, the Elect Besigye Team requires help from every good willed Ugandan from every polling station in the Country. There are two critical points that require special attention.
The role of the army and security intelligence in adulterating election results, and the complacency of the Electoral Commission in creating uneven playing field leading to election rigging.
When contesting against Museveni, a glamorous campaign with large crowds means nothing! The integrity of the ballot box and ballot counts are the definitive subject in such elections.
Without any proper methods of safeguarding the ballot box and ballot counts, the entire opposition will have been defeated. This disgraceful ballot circumstances represents the gruesome moment when people’s power is usurped. A fraudulent election dis-empowers, dampens the zeal and confidence, and generates apathy towards elections and politics.
Morris Komakech is a Ugandan social critic and political analyst based in Canada.
Can contact via firstname.lastname@example.org