On February 18 when Ugandans go to vote there will be winners and losers. Obviously there will be losers who will claim they were rigged out and not accept that their opponents were stronger.
By David Mukholi
There is always a temptation to create an excuse for failure. The real cause is hidden or denied. When a business collapses the owner blames it on anything including witchcraft and not his or her inability.
Often, the blame is publicly placed on external factors and circumstances but privately the business owner knows it was a result of personal failure to run the business efficiently and profitably. Sometimes, Government is accused of targeting certain businesses.
Even in sport, especially football, loss is blamed on poor officiating and even the playground.
Excuses for failure are not only in football and business. A fortnight ago, after the Primary Leaving Examination results were released, some pupils who failed had ridiculous excuses. Some said they were given emergency examinations which were harder than the original ones.
Others said their schools were under-marked. There were also those who said the pass mark applied on their schools were higher than the rest.
When the O' and A' Level results are released the same excuses will be given. These are reasons for failure repeated over the years. Sometimes the failures succeed in getting sympathy from the parents, friends and relatives who believe them. Rarely does one honestly say he is weak academically or was ill-prepared for the examinations.
The motivation to create excuses for failure is a response to the celebration of those who pass. It is now a fad for star performers to be profiled by the media, which forces those who failed to fabricate excuses. It is just like when ones business goes under while others are prospering, the owner will have to find a reason rather than admit personal failure.
It also happens in elections. When a politician throws the hat in the ring his or her expectations rise as the people turn up at his or her rallies. Because he or she thinks is the best and there is no way the opponent can beat them, so defeat can only occur as a result of rigging.
Sometimes rigging is an excuse politicians give after losing an election. It is just like the student whose defence for failing the exams is reasons other than his own abilities. So is the case of a business owner who cannot admit her personal failures as the reason for losses. Of course for businesses other factors in the environment could be a real threat but as an entrepreneur, owners are expected to build resilient businesses.
The ability to bounce back after loss makes one a competent businessman or woman and so is changing the business line.
But above all, accepting mistakes and acknowledging personal failures is not only honourable but provides the opportunity to learn lessons and do better in future. A student who blames the examination body will not be helped by those who succeeded. Because he is saying he passed but was cheated, the successful students will not give him any tips of passing exams.
A business owner who points at witchcraft as a reason for failure creates a brick wall and no one gives him advice other than suggesting he also applies witchcraft. It is the same with politics.
Last year, the two main political parties, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) had challenges in their party primaries.
There were some cases of malpractices but even where there were none losers cried foul. Publicly they claim they were rigged out but privately they knew they were weaker candidates. Sticking to their public statement, some are running as independents but likely to lose and allege vote-rigging again.
On February 18 when Ugandans go to vote there will be winners and losers. Obviously there will be losers who will claim they were rigged out and not accept that their opponents were stronger. Already some are alleging there is a plot to rig, which lays grounds for a convincing excuse should they lose.
Business collapse, failing exams and election defeat are painful and also shameful. It hard to cope with failure so some console themselves with excuses. It is the same with losing a football match. So finding fault and blaming others and external factors becomes a face-saving exercise.
Joshua Becker, an American writer sums it up thus: "Our initial tendency is often to blame others or uncontrollable external factors. After all, to admit defeat is to admit defeat. But barely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step."
He also goes on to say: "Despite the universality of failure, our world goes to great lengths to hide it. People always have and people always will. Our default position too often is to downplay our weaknesses, but those who find growth in failure begin by simply admitting its existence in their lives."