Ugandan Diaspora News Editorial | December 2015 – The Politics of Crowd Pulling and Voter Apathy!

Posted December 3, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 5,041 views



Greetings folks,

We are down to the last month of 2015 and what a year it has been. November was perhaps the most noteworthy month with the visitor from the Holy See, the head of the Roman Catholic church taking center stage. His message was quite simple to Ugandans he encouraged them to emulate the lives of the Ugandan martyrs daily that way their death is not in vain. There was also some rare sightings in Namugongo during the Papal Mass were candidates vying for the Presidency Mbabazi and Besigye were seen comparing notes after a busy first week of campaigns.

The other image was Besigye and President Museveni shaking hands with a man he had openly criticized and accused of mismanaging the country for the longest a sign and proof that perhaps the Pope’s visit had indeed brought us good tidings.

However this being a fully charged political season some party strategists were quick to remind us that it was indeed President Museveni and NRM that had brought us the Pope. We hope however that unlike the CHOGM debacle there was value for money after all those collections in the name of the Papal visit were made by both the state and private sector , it would be sad if the Pope’s visit who chose to emulate the life of of Saint Francis of Assisi – was abused by those who have mastered the art of milking such projects.


Back on the Uganda’s Presidential scene John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s candidature that seemed to energize many seems to be suffering some defections. The Beatrice Anywar who seconded him has been openly campaigning for FDC flag bearer in Kitgum and fighting for her political survival after her party openly fielded another candidate to stand against her. The other defectors — read moles who had infiltrated JPAM task force were expelled after it was revealed that they too had been compromised.

As the ‘X’ factor in this election Mbabazi’s arrival brought some excitement to the campaign that had seen Museveni and Besigye monopolize the field for the past 3 major elections. In JPAM some see the alternative voice that can perhaps cause an upset and force rerun if the EC does not ‘engineer’ the elections.

But with Mbabazi absent from the campaign trail after traveling to London to check on his wife, there has been fear and anxiety among some within his support base who saw this playing into the Museveni and Besigye camps. Given the defections of some key political strategists some fear a loss in momentum of-course due to the politics of bounty hunters read… (politicians for sale to the highest bidder)

The other aspect of this election has been the new style of campaigns that seems more obsessed with who commands the largest crowd (rented support) as opposed to whose manifesto or ideas address the needs of our people the best. To get this project massive crowds taken to the next level those handling publicity have now imported drones and cranes that give better vantage points for their cameras. This style of politicking is a testament of how low our political process has sunk.

It is therefore not surprising that those seeking elective office today will bribe voters at all costs to keep their jobs because in Uganda running for political office is a form of employment with some sort of lifetime privilege for those who seek these offices and the families they groom to take over from them.

The recent denial of Hon. Mao to contest as MP of Gulu Municipality due to the failure to produce a National ID is a new low that has me thinking if Mao could get the run around what will happen to the common man come election day. What verification system has been put to in place that those who registered will not be denied their fundamental right to vote. I have been reading and hearing stories of those who went through the process but upon checking and verifying their information their names are now missing from the national voter’s register. In the wake of the banning of Tamale Mirundi from the air-waves, we hope the right to vote and the freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution will be fully protected.

However having gone through what has been described as the most disorganized party primary season that saw incumbents defeated and sparked massive defections. There is a growing concern about the methodology applied by the EC especially banning the use of some terminologies used to sensitize the population about the process, we might need to turn to the voters to protect the vote of-course as the only true vehicle to change.

Personally I pray for a Uganda that will work for everyone and not just a few privileged individuals. Last year as my mother lay dying in Mulago National Referral Hospital’s private wing I was able to bear witness at how bad our system has broken. While voters can easily be bribed to vote more of the same its now time to hold our leaders accountable for their past pledges and perhaps ask what would Mugufuli do if he was given a chance to clean house in Uganda today – would our entire government be fired for incompetence??

John Magufui, the new elected President of Tanzania, has been shaking things up with a series of austerity measures that include cancelling Independence Day festivities and restricting foreign travel by officials. The government’s latest move has been to end the printing of holiday cards at government expense, all part of an effort to turn attention to paying creditors for goods and services. Let us hope that this new focus on priorities can have a positive effect on Tanzania’s neighbors.

The fear many of us have is that it will take years to undo this level of abuse, apathy and the lack of patriotism that permeates various levels of government and society.

Finally its that season when many of us begin the trek back to our motherland. As part of the Ugandan Diaspora community this will be an exciting season as we seek to hear first hand which candidate has addressed the diaspora questions the best given our financial contributions and intellectual capital.

Kenya and Ghana have flourished as a result of actively engaging the Diaspora we on the other hand have to really make noise to get the attention of our governments. From charging those carrying foreign passports $100 dollars per head there seems to be little interest to even help us obtain national IDs using our embassies. The story for some of our neighbors is very different.

To this end I believe setting up a special diaspora section with a clear diaspora policy that directly reports to the President would be ideal since often times departments set up in ministries have not been effective in advancing the diaspora policy. Given the many professionals living and working abroad there should be better ways and means to attract these professionals on short term contracts back home. The other element that can be championed by the Diaspora is a company or authority that would brand and promote Uganda abroad as a way to market and attract investors and tourists given our exposure and training abroad. (Brand Uganda) as a concept is long overdue!

It therefore gives me the greatest pleasure to invite all the Diaspora to the Home is Best summit that will take place in Masaka’s Brovad hotel on the 17th and 18th December. This event will precede our annual Uganda Diaspora Business Breakfast and Gala held on 29th and 30th December at Kampala Serena hotel. (A special discount offer has also been extended to the Diaspora)

This year we shall also feature the legendary Afrigo Band as the main headliners for our entertainment. The special keynote address will come from the Chief Financial Officer of South African Broadcasting Corporation, Africa’s largest broadcaster. Other guests will include Victor Ochen the Nobel Peace Prize finalist and a host of other notable Ugandans. See link below for details

Wishing You Joy and Peace This Festive Season!

For God and My Country.

Ronnie Mayanja
Ugandan Diaspora News | |
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US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 | +256-703-999-898
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment


    Much appreciation Ronnie for keeping us in the loop.

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