Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The country manager of the Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy-NIMD, Frank Rusa has warned that the ugly scenes the country witnessed last week as riots broke out in some parts of the country could very well be repeated if no tangible intervention is done to preach peace and tolerance.
Rusa has stressed that ensuring a peaceful election is the responsibility of every citizen in the country.
He was launching a multimedia campaign to rally Ugandan citizens to embrace peaceful but vigilant participation in the forthcoming general elections in Uganda.
The campaign is dubbed “I choose peace for today and tomorrow”
NIMD is the organization that runs the secretariat for Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), a platform that brings together political parties with representation in Parliament.
Rusa reveals that the secretary generals of the political parties proposed that NIMD, as the secretariat of IPOD leads a campaign to call on all Ugandans to embrace peaceful participation in electoral politics.
He asserted that he is pleased that political parties have made tremendous progress on the front of building trust among themselves, working together to resolve problems among themselves and crafting solutions together.
He stated that he believes Ugandans are hungry for a solution to an end of chaos and death, hence the initiative for a campaign with a new message and a new slogan.
He says tribalistic statements and hate speech seen on social media platforms could call for more danger.
Election analyst Crispin Kaheru welcomes the “I Choose Peace Campaign”, saying it will go a long way in promoting peaceful and non-violent election process, he however says the best way of guaranteeing a peaceful election is by ensuring that the election is free, fair and credible. He notes that the role of keeping the electoral period calm lies with the EC, police, politicians, media, CSOs and the voters.
He says citizens must desist from spreading fake news, misinformation and disinformation saying these are catalysts of violence. Kaheru also calls for naming and shaming of those institutions or individuals fanning the flames of violence.
The FDC deputy secretary general Harold Kaija says peaceful and non-violent election process can be achieved only when there is fairness and justice in the country.
NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba says Ugandans should work together to find the root cause of the chaotic election process and find suitable solution instead of playing the blame game.
Charity Ahimbisibwe, the acting National Coordinator for Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) observes that the launched campaign should have a special focus on areas, and groups, which are already seen as hotspots of violence as it was handled in CCEDU’s ‘Topowa’ 2015 electoral campaign.