Views from Fiona: Bargaining with my Conscience

Views from Fiona: Bargaining with my Conscience


Is it okay NOT TO VOTE simply because the person you want to vote has no hope in winning in an election?

As Uganda learns to deal with Democracy, some wrestle with the old issue of "The Wasted Vote."

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: February 19, 2006


It is less than a week to the presidential and parliamentary elections. I have heard so many who think the elections will be bloody and to avoid it they are either staying home or going up country. The elite of Uganda who often engage in stimulating arguments on who is best to lead Uganda post 2006, are the same disappointing fellows who don't vote. Some might want to, but they failed to register as voters. They thought they didn't have time to line up or were tied up in engagements. Others put up the lame excuses; votes will be rigged.

This time around people should go out and exercise their right. Vote! Every vote counts.

Statistics show low turn ups in town centers during Election. I have always voted but this time around I am still bargaining with my conscience. Should I vote? You see my dilemma is that, to me, none of the presidential candidates deserves my vote. I have issues with virtually all the candidates because Mr. Museveni. He had preached that 'stayism' of African leaders has cost the continent but 20yrs later I think he has over stayed his welcome. The other paper heavy weight Dr. Besigye has personal issues with the incumbent which is his driving force to kick him out. The Democratic Party man is simply too old. UPC's poor choice is always going to haunt them besides they tried twice to run this country and instead ruined it, my ideal candidate Dr. Bwanika is simply a political novice. [ read Uganda Elections 2006: Bwanika Shines at Africa's First Presidential Debate]

When a whole professor confesses he will eat his shoes if the incumbent looses the election, yet we all know he doesn't support him, it confirms my belief he won't vote. So are many elite people of Uganda. The other, Prof.Ssempebwa predicted a win for Mr.Museveni yet his party, DP, fielded a presidential candidate. You wonder if the good old professor will vote when he is sure his man will loose come sun or rain.

Votes don't lie in air conditioned; multi- storied palatial offices, nor with 'busy' elite working officers but with the common man your boda boda rider, kikuubo small scale trader, wheel barrow pusher and ultimately the folks in the villages who are often lied to, used as pawns in the game but after the voting is done, they are promptly forgotten.

Academicians and their students are often a disappointment. They will argue and teach about why the system works or not. But rarely do they advocate for change. These days students at our major universities are chicken feed [pun intended]. Very few involve themselves in politics. Their reasoning is perplexing and don't get surprised even when you draw blank stares. Their area of expertise is now music and bling-bling. The last entertaining politics at campus could have been witnessed around 1992- the Mao-Mayombo guild presidency. These days it's like a beauty pageant.

Politics is a game of numbers, strategy [kakuyeges], manipulation and mind games[lies] and to achieve political ambition one has to shade off their conscience other otherwised they have strayed into the wrong profession.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: February 19, 2006
Fiona Abaasa is a columnist for UGPulse.com based in Kampala.

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