Opinion
2016 Elections: Ugandans to reward performers
Publish Date: Sep 04, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img


By Steven Masiga

There are barely 300 days left towards 2016 party primaries and Ugandans will once again exercise their democratic rights. One of the best oracles on this discipline the Greek philosopher Plato had stated rather overtly that “the greatest weakness of democracy was its reliance on numbers and not ability.
 
In Uganda and elsewhere in Africa during campaign periods if a candidate stormed apolitical rally barehanded he would be described by the audience as not being a patriotic candidate and not having his people’s interests at heart, the crowd may even usurp the powers of electoral commission and declare him/her an early loser.
 
Yet the practice of salt and alcohol giving is not in tandem with any democratic principle to say the least, giving of any campaign gift should be given in appreciation after winning, you can officially thank your people.
 
If voter education programs are not initiated early to sensitize Ugandans on the vice of exchanging votes for alcohol, salt etc will escalate.
 
As an African I am cognizant of the fact that sharing the little you have is part and parcel of the African culture, though my concern is the manipulation in the sharing and the timing of the handouts. In the Elgon region, I have noted with a lot of suspicion every time a candidate finishes addressing rallies you suddenly notice long queues forming majorly to receive cash and other necessaries of life.
 
However if this vice is not checked   those who lobbied for and brought hospitals, schools,  safe water  and roads may be relegated a side as those appearing with packets of salt, sugar & even soap may snatch the victory away, law enforcers why not criminalize this, or that is we win elections  in Africa.
 
Well directed legislation can check on those that Plato blames for the travesty of democracy.
 
Truly 2016 is just around the corner and political stress is bound to set in for the political actors, all those charged with this mandate should be seen to do their best, particularly the national electoral commission must initiate early voter education related programmes, others like party commissions should also agree on a modus operand on how they are to deal with the issue of educating Ugandan citizens on matters of electing their leaders such that previous mistakes do not reoccur.
 
Though sometimes it is difficult to fathom what voters really want, many researchers analyzing voter behaviour in this field have painted a very scary picture as most people voted for leaders for reasons like being related to them, routine burial attendance and provision of alcohol among others and surprisingly nothing to do with service delivery. What a blunder on the part of voters!
 
Voter education, once well administered, will create awareness on the roles of all participants in this process. For this to have a desired impact there should be localization of the content so that majority of citizens get the information.
 
Voter education should start with the incumbents; incumbencies have a time frame once the Electoral Commission has notified Ugandans that there is a vacant political post in a county or a constituency do not say so and so wants to contest against you.
 
I was fascinated by the story of one person in Manafwa district who had won primaries for NRM and forced the incumbent to hand over office equipment, even when the Electoral Commission had not nominated him to contest officially.
 
Sustained voter education will kill the appetite for sugar, salt, alcohol, and realign voters to priority programs as opposed to individual voter needs.
 
The writer is a coordinator at Makerere Mbale Centre

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The army in dev
I deign to say that it is a rightful move to involve the army in the various rescue and development activities in the country....
Control of fire outbreaks
The rains have just returned in many parts of the country. However, the temperatures in Uganda have been obscenely high....
Will Uganda be able to fly into a new energy sustainable future?
In Uganda more than 90% of the population does not have access to electricity, the biggest percentage being rural communities....
How wealth creation campaign will succeed
The wealth creation campaign is a positive step by the Government and is likely to be one to be the most successful programmes in poverty alleviation ever....
When I heard the news about the assassination of the Russian politician Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, I was reminded of a conversation I once had with a Soviet dignitary...
Recently I was part of a team that traveled to Eastern Uganda to engage our stakeholders in sensitisation and awareness campaigns....
Will the ban of food vendors help eliminate typhoid?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter