Home Forums Voices of Oppressed Ugandans How Yoweri Museveni Cheated Elections

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    Not surprising! NRM, NRA and all offspring wherever they are is about robberies.

    Take the case of the 27 heroes (41) of Feb 6 1981; their successful mission was robbery. Even on the way to Kabamba, according to sowing the mustard seed, they robbed a lorry and a Peugeot car.

    Robbery of food items was the order of the day during the Luweero fight 1981-1986.

    And what have they not robbed or stolen once they acquired state power in Uganda?Anyone remember the ICJ case about plunder of DRC resources? The debt remains unpaid by Uganda but the robbers roam free on Ugandan roads.

    One of the looming threats by NRM is that if FDC wins the presidency then there will be a lot of robberies especially of marhandise belonging to business people. This is calculated to force business to prefer ‘no change’ to protect their properties. The same trick was used in 2011.


    Several organisations have called for the removal of crime preventers from the 2016 elections process, largely because they cannot be trusted to act in a fair and non-partisan manner.

    Besides the political opposition, the latest call came last week from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda, Chapter Four Uganda, and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.

    While community policing has been helpful in many countries, in our context, the use of crime preventers in elections is problematic.

    We strongly urge the government to rethink, if only to protect the credibility of the 2016 elections.

    Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is obviously well-respected across the partisan divide, but his government’s position is like saying that a World Cup-qualifying match between Ghana and Nigeria should be officiated by a Nigerian referee, while insisting that the referee must not make biased calls against Ghanaians.

    Uganda’s recently-recruited, hastily- trained and politically-sensitised crime preventers cannot escape the suspicion that they will act in favour of the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement.

    Only recently, President Museveni said that although crime preventers were not to be paid salaries, they would be rewarded for their work by being considered for government programmes such as Operation Wealth Creation.

    Many crime preventers have been seen dressed in colours of the ruling party. Clearly, the link between crime preventers and the NRM is overtly and covertly significant.

    Indeed, as The Observer reported in October, many see the crime preventers as an NRM strategy to mobilise hundreds of thousands of often-jobless or clearly underemployed people and create a symbiotic relationship between them and the ruling party.

    How then can such people be part of the team ‘officiating’ in the competition that is the 2016 elections?

    Not many people have faith that the crime preventers are there to genuinely prevent crime and that they will not be partisan.

    One organization classified crime preventers alongside vote-guarding militia being mooted by various political groups. That may look like it is stretching it, but that is what it seems.

    And fairness of the electoral process cannot be simply a declaration. It must also be seen to be.


    Earlier this week, Uganda’s inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura, was reported to have made three very serious statements.

    First, that ‘they’ will not hand over power to an opposition that is up to no good other than undo the precious peace ‘they’ fought so hard to give to Ugandans. In this, Kayihura was restating his master’s stance.

    Second, that the militia he has been training and passing out around the country will be handed rifles in place of sticks so they defend the peace of the country.

    Third, that this militia – otherwise deceptively called ‘crime preventers’, an absurd concept that suggests a wall can be erected to prevent crime – has reached a staggering eleven million. Not even the great Red Army comes anywhere close.

    If we had an accountable government, Gen Kayihura would promptly be relieved of his duties for uttering statements that are inflammatory, subversive, and grossly unbecoming of a public official, more so the head of a civilian institution charged with maintaining law and order.

    The act of handing over power and deciding who has won or lost an election is hardly the business of the police, let alone a serving military officer.

    But we are talking about Uganda here, where impunity reigns and misconduct is rewarded. I don’t know of any government anywhere in the world, with the remotest pretence to democratic governance, that has the head of police who is shamelessly partisan and an unabashed ruling party cadre.

    Our current chief of defence forces, General Edward Katumba Wamala, is probably as loyal to his commander in chief and to the country as you can find. Yet he is unlikely to publicly spew such reckless statements.

    The thing about General Kayihura is that he belongs to a coterie that is so sloshed with power and believes it has the ‘divine’ right to misrule us.

    The import of the three statements noted above is to create fear and despondency, and ultimately procure a very low voter turnout on February 18. The calculation is straightforward.

    Majority of those who would elect to stay away from the polling booth would likely vote against the incumbent. They will stay away, convinced that their vote won’t count.

    But even more importantly, a good fraction of those who will not turn out to vote will be voted for, using the rigging machinery, part of which may involve the militia passing as ‘crime preventers’.

    That’s the plot. It is the scheme which Kayihura’s scarecrow statements aimed to achieve. Aware of this nefarious scheme, the reaction of Ugandans hankering for change is to call a bluff on the threats and fearmongering.

    For starters, the claim that Kayihura has trained eleven million ‘crime preventers’ should be treated as a big lie or at best a gross exaggeration intended to impress his master and create an alarming picture to Ugandans.

    Uganda’s population is estimated at close to 35 million people. Given we are predominantly a young population with a very high birth rate, more than half of Ugandans are underage – below 18 years. But what Kayihura is telling us is that one out of every three Ugandans is a ‘crime preventer’!

    The figure of fourteen million registered voters, which is contested, gives us another way around seeing the hollowness of there being eleven million ‘crime preventers’.

    If we got an unlikely 80 per cent voter turnout, it will mean that practically every Ugandan appearing at the polling booth will be a ‘crime preventer’! It will be a vote by ‘crime preventers’.

    One fact needs little belabouring: Kayihura has wrought enormous institutional damage on the Uganda police in his overzealous service of his master. The vast majority of police officers reside in the most appalling housing conditions, earn a paltry salary, and operate without the most basic facilities expected of a modern civilian, professional police force.

    Yet huge budgetary resources, at the discretion of an activist and partisan IGP, are channelled towards fighting opponents of the sitting president and funding political mobilization for him.

    This was impeccably revealed in the infamous tape recordings in 2014 when the IGP was on the loose cajoling and paying individuals not to support the then prime minister, now presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.

    But statements of desperation have recently come from others high up, including the man himself who is desperately clinging onto power. But very disappointing are statements attributed to the prime minister, Livingstone Ruhakana Rugundu, a man better known as Ndugu.

    Apparently, Rugunda and his group will not hand over power if the opposition rigs the February 18 vote! This suggests that Rugunda believes the opposition is likely to commit electoral fraud.

    His boss has said as much. But with an ‘independent’ Electoral Commission, padded with regime followers, and eleven million ‘crime preventers’ to boot, why should Ndugu Rugunda have any inkling that the opposition will rig the polls?

    I should like to end by noting that I intended to write a letter to Dr Kizza Besigye, especially in the wake of the incident in Butambala district involving area MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi. Something was simply not right. That letter will appear here soon…


    Local council elections were largely characterised by low voter turnout

    Distribution of polling materials and start of voting in Local council elections in parts of Wakiso district was delayed by crime preventers who demanded for upfront payment of their allowances before executing their work.

    Crime preventers are a volunteer force of civilians recruited and managed by police to report on and prevent crime in cooperation with the police and communities.

    Although, the legitimacy of the force is questionable owing to their affiliation to the ruling National Resistance Movement party, they form part of the group contracted to escort voting materials as well as guard the polling stations.

    They are paid Shs 20,000 in allowances for each polling day. Earlier today, four trucks loaded with voting materials could not leave Katabi Sub-county headquarters in Busiro South, Wakiso district after dozens of crime preventers refused to board before getting their allowances.

    Polling officials and Police officers who were already aboard the trucks and other vehicles, waited for over an hour as the crime preventers, in unison, swarmed the Electoral Commission Sub-county supervisor, Ben Mutebi, to pay them.

    Mutebi said the norm is that the allowances are paid after the election period.

    “They get allowances, Shs 10,000 everyday for elections. That is Shs 60,000 for 3 hours of elections and we are telling them in Wakiso we pay after all elections have taken place”, Mutebi said.

    After failing to get what they wanted, some of them wanted just some money to enable them go through the day. One of them was heard pleading for just Shs 500 before he could get on board.

    “Afande, at least Shs 500 for water”, he begged.

    It was getting to 8am when the crestfallen crime preventers agreed to leave. They reluctantly boarded the trucks and went to perform the duty of protecting the polls.

    As a result, voting in the Sub-county started after 9am, two hours after the official opening time of 7am.

    The Wakiso district chairman race is between three candidates  Mathias Lwanga Bwanika of the Democratic Party, Kyeyune Umar of the Forum for Democratic Change and Nsubuga John of the National Resistance Movement party.


    There was some drama and tension in equal measure when Gen Katumba Wamala, the chief of defense forces (CDF), clashed with a voter at Mbuya Church of Uganda primary school polling station.

    The two quarreled over the presence of soldiers at the polling station.

    It all started when Gen Wamala walked to the polling station to appraise the voting situation only to be confronted by a voter, who identified herself as Anne. She complained about the heavy presence of army men at the station.

    She insisted that the army should streamline the manner in which soldiers are brought to a polling station without intimidating other voters in the line. In response, Gen Wamala angrily said there is no law barring soldiers from voting at anytime. This drew a bitter exchange between the two.

    Wamala later told journalists that soldiers have a constitutional right to vote and any attempts to deny them that right can’t be tolerated. He also defended the presence of soldiers in many other parts of the country. He said they were deployed to back up police in the event of violence or chaos.

    Elections within Mbuya barracks and its neighboring precincts have in the past been a bone of contention, with civilians accusing the army of rigging. However, Wamala dismissed this.


    Chief of Defense Forces, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala has refuted claims that he is under arrest and detained at Makindye Military police barracks.

    Gen Wamala says he has heard about information that is circulating on social media that he is under incarceration after he demanded that the Electoral Commission releases the correct results to avert a possible unrest. He says the information is not true and that Ugandans should treat it that way.

    Much as the source and intention of information is yet to be established, Gen Wamala thinks the idea is to drive a wedge in the UPDF that is now involved in streets operations to ensure peace just after yesterday’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

    The elections were marred by massive irregularities, delayed delivery of election materials. In fact the opposition walked out of the Electoral Commission tally centre at Namboole, saying they can’t be party to a ‘sham’ election results.

    “There has been a lot of efforts to cause anxiety in the populace. There have been machinations from some of those people who are bent to cause chaos in this country…one of them I can tell you for example, there was a plan to have a ‘photoshop’ [manipulated photo] where the army personnel were dragging the Kabaka [Buganda kingdom king] on the streets which photographs  they were printing and were going to throw in the public.

    You can imagine what that would cause…[the rumour] is one of them again coming out to say Gen Katumba is under arrest. I don’t know how many telephone [calls] I have received in that message started circulating from all corners of the country and from all forms of people”, Wamala said.

    Even though government instructed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to social media accounts such as facebook, twitter, WhatsApp among others at least until after the ‘security situation is assessed’, Ugandans circumvented the blockage – accessing the sites via virtual private networks (VPNs) which masks the user’s location. Reports indicate that an unprecedented 1.4 million VPNs were downloaded and installed by users in Uganda by the end of yesterday alone.

    There is noted increased army presence on the streets of Kampala and there has been spontaneous protests – though quickly quelled in Najjanankumbi, Natete and Kisekka over the provisional election results being released by the Electoral Commission. According to the latest results from 13,305 of the 28,010 registered polling stations, Museveni is in the lead at 62.82% having received 2,900,109 votes so far.

    Kizza Besigye is second with 1,507,495 votes (32.66%), Amama Mbabazi – 80,893 votes (1.75%), Venansius Baryamureeba Baryamureeba – 31,331 votes (0.68%), Maureen Kyalya – 23,076 votes (0.5%), Benon Biraaro 14,469 votes (0.31%) and Mabirizi with – 13,660  votes (0.3%). So far, the tallied votes stand at 4,606,403 while the invalid are 243,695 representing 5.01% of total tallied (4,860,098) which is 31.8% of registered voters.

    The elections have been marred by gross irregularities. For example, tallying of election results in Sembaule had to be suspended in the morning when ‘results’ from Kirama, Ntusi primary school, Kazooba A, Lwemibu and Kinoni were presented for tallying even though voting at those polling stations had been suspended and did not take place yesterday.

    In Bulambuli district, results from six polling stations – Bundikibolo, Suni, Luzzi primary school, Wandabiriri primary, Sisiyi and Tunyi health center III went missing. The returning officer said today morning that the results declaration forms had been stolen from the polling officials by unknown people last night.

    Likewise in Bundibugyo, results declaration forms and the presiding officers of Busaru, Mirambi and Buragyetema polling stations could not be traced at the time of tallying the results today morning.

    With ‘questionable’ results trickling into the EC tally centre and the recent political rhetoric especially from opposition candidates warning against vote rigging, security has been beefed up. Gen Wamala the army presence with heavy weaponry on the streets of Kampala and other parts of the country is not in any way to scare or intimidate Ugandans but rather to offer peace and security and backup the police.

    We know and we have known all along that there are plans to destabilise this country using the elections as the spark. Some people have said that they will not accept the results and we know that behind that there were plans to make this country difficult to govern.

    Acts like riots and as I speak now I now that some people bought tickets and actually left the country, people feared that immediately after the elections there is going to be violence which was going to be very costly in terms of life and property. We knew all that and so that is why we have come out as UPDF to buttress the police to ensure that we provide total security”, Wamala said during an interview with URN at the army office in Kampala.

    He says the army on the streets will not make arrests but will work with the Police to provide general security to ensure that nobody’s security is disturbed. Wamala says the security situation in the country after the elections is generally peaceful and that the army wants to ensure the situation does not degenerate after the announcement of the results – where the incumbent Museveni is likely to be declared winner.


    The army’s presence and heavy fighting machinery and seemingly no-sense approach towards protestors has not gone well with the international community. US secretary of state, John Kerry called on President Museveni to ‘reign in security’

    According to a statement from the US Department of State, Kerry reminded President Museveni that “Uganda’s progress depends on adherence to democratic principles in the ongoing election process and that the United States stands by the Ugandan people as they undertake this most essential democratic endeavor”

    The statement further adds that Kerry “expressed his concern about the detention of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and harassment of opposition party members during voting and tallying, and he urged Museveni to rein in the police and security forces, noting that such action calls into question Uganda’s commitment to a transparent and credible election process free from intimidation”.

    Kerry also urged Museveni “end this [social media] blockage immediately”

    By 8.30pm today, Besigye was still detained at Nagalama police cells after he, with other party officials; Joyce Ssebugwawo, Ingrid Turinawe, Wasswa Birigwa and Gen Mugisha Muntu were arrested from the party offices during a police raid this afternoon. Police accused FDC of inciting the population by compiling and attempting to release their purported results that indicated that they Besigye was leading.


    On the 19 the February 2016, the party leaders of the Forum for democratic change, Uganda (FDC) Presidential candidate; Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye, FDC Party Chairman; Mr. Waswa Birigwa, Party President; Major General Mugisha Muntu, Mobilization Secretary, Ingrid Turinawe and unarmed civilians, were arrested by armed Military Police and Uganda Police who were arrested and detained.

    These arrests were heavy handed, unnecessary and unfounded under any laws of Uganda. The illegal and unlawful arrests were made a day after, the presidential and parliamentary elections of the 18th day of February 2016.

    Uganda Diaspora, friends and Development partners join to strongly condemn the cowardly acts of arresting opposition party leaders, intimidation of the opposition voters, use of force and violence against innocent civilians.

    The Uganda Diaspora P10 an international communication arm of the FDC Party has noted that the recent arrests of opposition leaders on 19.02.2016, are part of a coordinated intimidation of party leaders by the dictatorial regime in Uganda.

    These malpractices have undermined the whole credibility of the electoral process, i.e. the campaigns through to the polling, tallying and, in addition, the arrest of Presidential Candidate Dr. Col. Kiiza Besigye, at Naguru on the 18th February 2016, who was acting on a tip-off to expose an election rigging centre.

    Notwithstanding the heavy handedness of the Dictatorial regime in Kampala, the people of Uganda defiantly came out in large numbers to exercise their constitutional right to vote for a president of their choice. Provisional results project that presidential candidate Dr. Kizza, Besigye holds a significant.

    The Electoral Commission lack of independence has compromised the whole electoral process. The lack of independence of the electoral commission was evidenced by the false allegations by the Chairman Electoral Commission, that presidential Candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye intended to declare himself president of the Country without substantiation.

    Uganda Diaspora P10 have evidence of criminal activities ranging from elections crimes to crimes against the people of Uganda
    The underhanded activities and election irregularities which have disenfranchised the Ugandan voter include but not limited to;
    Voting materials not delivered on time, in some place delivered as late as 3 pm.

    Widespread ballot staffing in areas of Kampala, Wakiso and nationwide.
    Heavy military presence and illegal militia deployment.

    The Uganda police involvement in partisan law enforcement and brutality.
    The Uganda police conducting tallying in Gulu District, Naguru among other areas.
    Failure of the biometric identification machines nationwide.

    The Uganda Diaspora P10 questions the competence of the Electoral commission in managing an election of this magnitude to acceptable, democratic international standards.
    To underscore the gravity of the current state of affairs in the country, Ugandans and friends of Uganda are going to the street to protest the outcome of the unfair electoral process.

    However, in Uganda, the people’s right to freedom to assemble, demonstrate, associate and express themselves have been curtailed.

    The Ugandan people, will not be stopped by intimidation, they will do anything and everything to ensure that the power of the people through the ballot is protected and prevails. As citizens, we will use all fora; domestic and international to protect the people’s fundamental rights of electing a leader of their choice.

    We appeal to the police and all organs of state to desist from arbitrary, partisan and undemocratic acts against the peoples of Uganda. To this end, we encourage the police and all organs of the state not to interfere with the will of the people of Uganda but protect and respect the will of the people.

    The acts of violence, brutality, and arbitrary arrests seem to be a well-planned coordinated act of terror against the people of Uganda. We are documenting the identity of these individual perpetrators responsible for this criminal acts. We will ensure that they face personal and institutional liability under the domestic, regional and international law.

    Let the response of our nation be mature and thoughtful. This is a moment of prayer and unity not of hasty reaction. We ask God to give us wisdom in the face of a volatile situation.

    The violent, cruel and humiliating method of arresting our leaders ought to be condemned by the International community because it’s not only a violation of human rights but its meant to cause fear and voter apathy in favor of the incumbent.

    We welcome the statement of concern by the American Secretary of State, John Kerry; Head of the Common Wealth Election Monitoring Team, Olusegun Obasanjo; and condemnation by the local observers of election irregularities.

    We are also concerned about the safety and security of all foreign citizens in Uganda. The Uganda Diaspora P10 and Forum for Democratic Change appeal to the European Union to join the rest of the international community and our allies in voicing their strong concern against electoral irregularities and human violations in Uganda.

    We appeal to the European union to put pressure on Yoweri Museveni and the regime to release with immediate effects all opposition leaders and innocent civilians detained without due process.
    We ask the immediate halting of counting, tallying and announcing of election results tainted with irregularities.

    In conclusion, the current political stalemate in Uganda is so volatile and is threatening to generate into civil strife, human rights abuse and eventual collapse of the state like many other countries in the region.

    The patience of the people of Uganda stretched to the limit, the people of Uganda are running out of option and seek the international community to intervene immediately before the situation escalates.

    Chairperson Uganda diaspora P10


    The Electoral Commission yesterday suspended the election of parliamentary candidates in Kibale and Kitagwenda Counties in the western district of Kamwenge over switched ballot boxes.

    The ballot boxes for Kibale county were instead dispatched to Kitagwenda county and vice versa. At about 8:30 am hundreds of voters were stranded at the polling stations of Rwentuha, Nyakera and Kayinja in Kitagwenda County with no voting materials.

    However, when the boxes were delivered and opened, the ballot papers instead had particulars for candidates from another constituency. Abass Namara, the Kamwenge district returning officer, said yesterday that elections for directly elected members of Parliament had been suspended in the two constituencies until further notice.

    The Kibale County parliamentary seat is contested by Eng. Cuthbert Abigaba Mirembe of the National Resistance Movement and James Birungi of the Forum for Democratic Change.

    In Kitagwenda, Agaba Abass Mugisha of the National Resistance Movement is up against George Spencer from Go Forward and independent candidates Jonathan Abaine, Nturagye Rashid and Charles Ahimbisibwe.

    Meanwhile, the commission also suspended the election of directly elected Member of Parliament for Dokolo South in Dokolo district over inaccuracies on the ballot paper.

    The ballot papers had interchanged pictures against the names of two candidates; Daniel Okello and Jasper Okello. The two are independent candidates in a race that attracted seven candidates.

    The other contenders are National Resistance Movement party candidate Felix Okot Ogong, Uganda People’s Congress party candidate Denis Ekoch, Forum for Democratic Change party candidate Vincent Opito and independent candidates Edwin Odur and William Eram.

    Daniel Okello, an affected candidate said the mix-up was deliberate.  Okello wondered how his name was printed alongside a photograph of another candidate.

    Jasper Okello, another affected candidate welcomed the suspension of the election but faulted the Electoral Commission for the irregularity.

    In Bufumbira East EC called off the parliamentary election in Kisoro district following a petition from the NRM candidate, Dr James Nsaba Buturo over a mix-up of candidates’ symbols on the ballot.

    Buturo was assigned a bicycle on the ballot paper instead of a bus, which is the official NRM symbol. Buturo’s independent rival, Eddie Kwizera Waghahungu accused his rival of cowardice. He said the postponement of the polls was uncalled for.


    It must be an emotional rollercoaster ride for someone who lost an election

    The one thing I can say to you right now is thank you for taking a risk and putting yourself out there as a viable candidate. You took the trouble to stand out when a lot of other people sat back and just blended. At least you contributed to the conversations, debates and choice of the electorate, which makes a big difference.

    The truth about an election is that everyone who stands or runs for an election desires to win, but there has to be only one winner. Yes, you weren’t elected or selected, but that doesn’t change the significance of your heart, your desires, your passions, your abilities, your skills, your intentions, or your dreams. It merely changed your plans.

    No matter the outcome, remember to thank those who helped you, especially your campaign managers, financiers, those who pasted your posters in different areas and the silent supporters. Not only did they give you their vote, but also gave you the most expensive gift on earth – time!

    You can even throw them a special party because they have earned it. You are their main source of positive energy at a time like this. It will encourage them to restore their confidence in you.

    It might be hard, but congratulate the person who trounced you. It is never a sign of cowardice, but victory over those emotions that leave you feeling out of sync and uncertain. The beauty about a failed campaign is it helps you to learn from it.

    You get to know what you need to do differently next time, who you need to bring on your campaign task force, where to invest more and what exactly you need to say that the people want to hear. It will give you an edge when you enter your next campaign.

    It is at this point in time when you need to talk to friends or engage in sports activities that will help you find a sense of balance through the realization that your life and your significance is more than the results of an election.

    When you lose an election, the only thing that really changes is your plans. You don’t need to change your life; you just need to change your plan. Start looking at your options. Now is the time to start thinking about what is next.

    Take a look back at your campaign themes and the ideas you were hoping to implement. Use your time to organise fundraising events, to train your members on campaign techniques and to strengthen your internal and external communication.

    As the political landscape has shifted, so will your political action. The fact is you are working in a new political reality. You will have to deal with your defeat but also have to deal with the results of the other parties. After all, you are not working in a political vacuum.


    As Uganda prepares for the general elections next month, many businesses are worried about the risk of violence. Some experts, however, say taking insurance cover is a good solution, writes  JUSTUS LYATUU.

    Businesses in Uganda have been urged not to worry about any potential risks of violence that might emerge from the coming general elections period, and advised, instead, to carry on normally.

    Experts from the insurance industry say the campaigns are relatively well-managed and peaceful. Maurice Amogola, the chief executive officer of Aon Uganda, said although the elections are scheduled less than a month from now, businesses can go about their trade normally.

    “It is normal for the general public and business community to be caught up in the election fever and, to some extent, depending on the country, the fear of turmoil and violence makes some people to close shop. But I don’t think that is the case with Uganda this time,” he said.

    Amogola noted that Uganda has set rules that are strong enough to ensure a peaceful election. John Karionji, the CEO of ICEA General Insurance, agrees that in most African countries, election time means demonstrations, riots, fracas, tear gas and destruction of property.

    “In some cases, businesses have to close for days or even weeks owing to the volatility of the situation. This presents a very risky situation for business in terms of lost assets, production downtime hence loss of profit and, in addition, the country is profiled as a high risk by investors,” Karionji said.

    Despite the calm, the risk analysts say, it is still important for businesses to take up the necessary risk mitigation measures to protect themselves and their business from any unforeseen incidents.

    “We cannot assume that there will be no losses; so, business owners need to make sure that they have put in place the correct measures to protect their businesses. Transfer the political risks, sabotage and terrorism exposure risk to insurance; it is not too late to buy the cover,” Amogola advised businesses.

    He added that markets become tougher and extremely expensive if the risks and losses are already happening.


    A couple of days ago, a colleague reminded me that even the 1996 general election, which is remembered to have been relatively peaceful, had streaks of violent incidents.

    One of the presidential candidates then, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, was stoned by citizens in one of the districts in western Uganda where he had gone to campaign. It was in that same election where another presidential candidate warned the electorate on the possibility of returning to the deadly days of Milton Obote if ‘they didn’t vote for him’ – talk about psychological intimidation.

    Since the 1996 elections, the face and structure of violence in elections has fundamentally metamorphosed. The 2001 and 2006 elections have been recorded as Uganda’s most violent elections. Election observers reported several cases of government-sponsored violence, with the largest number of incidents being directed towards supporters of the opposition candidates.

    Political rallies and meetings were selectively and violently broken down by police; there were cases of harassment of journalists and editors; threats were issued to civil society activists; politically-motivated arrests were effected and hate-speech remained prevalent on the candidates’ campaign trail.

    In 2011, the structure of violence further changed.  Intraparty conflict and violence featured as the (unfortunate) new kid on the block; party-aligned militia groupings that had previously emerged in 2006 made a grand entry on to the electoral stage.

    Politicians resorted to using hired gangs to influence election results under the guise of protecting the vote.  It was the 2011 polls that bred the walk-to-work post-election protests.

    Already, pre-election violence has set in. Clashes between supporters of different candidates have already happened in Jinja, Ntungamo, Gulu, etc. Politicians, their supporters and innocent citizens have been injured; some have suffered fatalities.

    Widespread intimidation of voters remains persistent; some communities are already nursing the wounds of organised crime in the build-up to elections. Only a handful of voices seem to be coming out to condemn the direction which things are taking!

    Observer reports indicate that in the Rwenzori sub-region, politicians on both sides are giving speeches that are fanning the flames of long-standing ethnic and social rifts. Such narratives are bound to breed tension within the affected communities.

    Manipulation of these social divides by those seeking electoral support inadvertently adds onto the ‘flashpoints’ of electoral violence. Such skewed campaigning tactics are not only bad but also symbolic of a lack of a clear policy agenda on the side of the politicians.

    Sadly, other politicians seem to be planning on using violence to strategically get people to flee or to intimidate them against voting. The history of electoral violence notwithstanding, Uganda is lucky to stand in the middle of the African continent. We have both the good and bad examples from which to learn.

    While many analysts are inclined to using the Kenya of 2007/2008 as a classic example of what can happen when an election goes sour, Eunice Musiime, a socio-political analyst, is quick to remind Ugandans of the recent Tanzanian and Nigerian elections which came and passed without any major incidents recorded.

    It is, therefore, possible to make the February election work, and work peacefully for every Ugandan. The focus on preventing electoral violence must be on the individual first.

    Each Ugandan should be primarily concerned about their very own safety – therefore, an individual shouldn’t do or say things that will threaten their own peace and that of their communities.

    Religious groups, media, political parties, candidates and civil society must play their crucial internal and external roles in terms of de-escalating rising tensions and presenting an impartial image of electoral events.

    If we have many individuals and groups such as these acting as positive role models in terms of electoral conduct, we will be on the right path to removing the already-existing structural preconditions for violence and paving way for a peaceful election.

    It is everyone’s responsibility to break the nexus between elections and violence – and we must do it now!


    It is surprising that as Uganda approaches the February 18, 2016 general elections, there is little insightful reflection on what elections essentially mean in our
    body politic.

    The simplistic belief is that elections are when people appoint presidents. This upholds the thinking that elections are when local masses can oust and replace presidents.

    The question is whether elections are constructed for appointing presidents and whether the foreign powers that imposed elections on Ugandan politics were interested in instrumentalizing the ousting and appointing of presidents.

    If it is true that elections are basically for choosing presidents, why is it that it is the Western states and financial institutions that extend credit to Uganda, that are the elections funders and observers?

    When a creditor bank enforces company shareholders’ annual general meeting; its interest is not how the AGM appoints company leaders, it is in legitimizing the credit portfolio.

    There are types and levels of truths; the wider, epistemological truth is that elections are about voter right to select presidents, but the deeper, ontological truth is that through elections, citizens endorse the public debt, and directly mortgage their country to international creditors.

    So, what essentially are these general elections? Elections were not conceived in Uganda; so, whatever Ugandans want the February 18 elections to be, which is to appoint presidents, is subject to what elections were conceived for. The pre-his- tory, genealogy, and history of elections need revisiting.

    Summarily, elections pre-history is that 18th century Europe governments borrowed from local banks to operate colonies in North and South America. They lost the colonies and resorted to taxing their local working-class population to pay the public debts.

    Eventually, there were several 19th century public uprisings over high taxation. The settlement was universal suffrage general elections around taxation and public debt administration. Western world elections are thus essentially about (public debt) tax policy, and not appointing presidents.

    So, Ugandan general elections were instituted not for presidents but for legitimizing taxing of the public – the voters. This is because the modern Uganda state, resembling those in the West, is constructed around public debt capitalism.

    Public loans are contracted by the population through participating in the elections of those who receive, disburse and repay the funds. In Uganda, universal suffrage general elections were recommended by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and were followed in 1961 by a World Bank loan.

    To access foreign loans, the 1967 parliament revisited the motion that Ugandans did not want elections with one that elections were deferred to 1971.

    The deeper reason Obote was to stage elections in 1971 was to access Western loans and the reason Amin did not receive loans was reneging on the coup promise to stage elections.

    When Amin was ousted, the Commonwealth Development Fund drew the reconstruction and credit funds plan and demanded elections within two years. When Prof Yusuf Lule was ousted, the elections plan was maintained. When Godfrey Binaisa was ousted, the condition was elections in six months, still within the two years after Amin removal. The NRM/A required the

    1989 NRC elections and the dubious 1996 and 2001 Movement System general elections to access Western loans.

    Today, Uganda’s external loans portfolio is about Shs 38 million per citizen! This excludes the $21bn-Democratic Republic of Congo-invasion-debt which, if factored in, and the collapse of the anticipated oil revenue also appreciated, would make debt-ridden Uganda bankrupt.

    What, therefore, is the import of public loans to this election? One is that the creditors may not want the president who contracted the current Uganda debts to lose. This president is more likely to use repression to impose austerity to service and repay the loans.

    It should be appreciated that it is Ugandan foreign creditors that demand elections, send election observers who stop at witnessing mass voter participation, file their reports and depart before the results. Their interest is mass voter turnout.

    This explains why such large loan recipient regimes as DR-Congo under Mobutu Sese Seko and Egypt under Hosni Mubarak used to stage universal suffrage elections every five years.

    The challenge for Ugandans is not to prefer between the lower truths of elections as voters choosing the president and the higher truths as where shareholders endorse loans acquisition and repayment.

    It is for Ugandans to know that their preferred lower truth is not as important in the current electoral process as the higher truth of voting to sink our country deeper into public debt and individual poverty.


    Police in the northern district of Apac have arrested Patrick Opio, the district information officer, on suspicion of bribing voters.

    According to police, Opio bribed voters on behalf of the incumbent district chairman Bob Okae, who is seeking re-election.

    Alfonse Ojangole, the district police commander, said on February 23 that Opio was caught red-handed giving out money to voters in Aornga village, Acwao parish in Nambeiso Sub-county.

    He was persuading people to vote for Okae. The officer in charge of Apac Central police station, Kalifani Chemutai said Opio and others, still at large, were engaged in political activities on Monday, February 22 in Nambieso and Chegere Sub-counties where they were campaigning and offering money to voters.

    It’s alleged that Opio had spent about Shs 10m in bribes prior to his arrest. He had been trailed.

    Chemutai said Opio will be charged with voter bribery contrary to section 69 of the Parliamentary Elections Act (2001) and section 64 of the Presidential Elections Act (2005).

    Bob Okae, who is battling a challenge from David Ebong Abongo of the NRM party, said the arrest was politically-motivated and plotted by his opponents.

    Last month the district Chief Administrative Officer Sarafine Alia warned the district staff against engaging in open campaigns, an act that contravenes government standing orders.


    Samuel Mulomi, the former Budaka district chairperson, bounced back in Wednesday’s local government election, five years after he lost to the incumbent, Arthur Mboizi.

    Mark Muganzi, the Budaka district registrar, declared Mulomi winner on Thursday morning at the district tally center. Mulomi, an NRM candidate, garnered 23,092 votes against Mboizi’s 22,279.

    Mulomi was the first Budaka district LC-V chairperson from 2006 to 2011 before he was trounced by Mboizi. In neighboring Sironko district, Herbert Mulekwa, the NRM candidate, is the newly-elected LC-V chairperson.

    Mulekwa garnered 27,917 votes to defeat the incumbent and Forum for Democratic Change party candidate, James Nabende, who got 19,582 votes. David Livingstone Giruli, an Independent candidate, came in third with 8,479 votes. Mulekwa’s win is a big victory for the ruling NRM against the opposition FDC. Sironko is home to FDC party secretary general and Budadiri West MP, Nathan Nandala-Mafabi.

    In Ngora district, Ben Eumu (FDC) retained his seat, with 11,945 votes. His NRM rival and incumbent Ngora district council deputy speaker, Emmanuel Okello, came second with 10,513 votes.

    In Apac district, the incumbent chairperson Bob Okae (Uganda People’s Congress) also bounced back. Okae got 37,833 votes against 27,490 for his NRM rival David Ebong Abongo.

    Speaking yesterday, Okae promised to work on the poor roads and improve health and education service delivery in his second term of office. In Amuru, FDC’s Michael Lakony was declared winner. Lakony polled 14,353 votes, while NRM’s Geoffrey Otobi Orach garnered 6,273 votes.

    Richard Odokonyero, The Democratic Alliance candidate, came third with 1,504 votes, followed by DP’s Francis Otim (1,175 votes) while Denis Atwom Opio, an independent trailed (733 votes). Lakony replaces FDC’s Anthony Agube Omach who opted to contest for the Kilak county parliamentary seat but lost.

    In Kasese, Godfrey Sibendire Bigogo, the FDC candidate, defeated the incumbent Colonel Mawa Muhindo. Sibendire got 88,140 votes against Muhindo’s 67,912.

    Speaking shortly after he was declared winner, Sibendire promised to end sectarian politics in the district. He also promised to unite the people of Kasese irrespective of ethnicity. FDC swept all the six parliamentary seats in Kasese and also won 36 of the 51 councilor seats. NRM took eight and the remaining five went to independents.

    In Mbale, NRM’s Bernard Elly Mujasi, retained his seat, beating off stiff competition from independent Vincent Magombe. Mujasi garnered 41,659 votes against Magombe’s 38,710.

    In his acceptance speech, Mujasi said he was serving his last term. He promised to prioritise poverty eradication in his new term.

    In the neighboring Bulambuli district, incumbent LC-V chairperson and NRM candidate Simon Peter Wananzofu also retained his seat. He got 21,964 votes. His rival Robert Soul Nakoko polled 18,044 votes, followed by Michael Wagoli with 2,085 votes.

    In Manafwa district, John Musila, the National Resistance Movement party candidate and former information minister Inzu Ya Masaba cultural institution won the LC-V seat. He garnered 52,150 votes.

    His other rivals, Sylvester Wasieba, an independent candidate, got 25,279 votes followed by FDC’s Fred Wangira (1,842) and independent Iddi Wataka (986).

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