Views from Fiona: Political Projection Come 2011
Sembabule District.

Views from Fiona: Political Projection Come 2011


Losing an election malpractice case alone should disqualify a candidate from standing for any national office again.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: January 28, 2009


If the just concluded Sembabule District Woman MP bye-elections were anything to go by, the political landscape in Uganda is becoming ever grimmer territory to navigate. The Sembabule bye-elections were a precursor to how ugly things could get during the 2011 general elections in Uganda. Why should any political party support a candidate already implicated in election malpractice? Losing an election malpractice case alone should disqualify a candidate from standing for any national office again. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has to return to the drawing board - that is if they still remember what took them to the bush after the 1980 general elections which were widely believed to be rigged by the Uganda People's Congress (UPC). For a political party of such caliber as the NRM to stick to fielding a clearly unpopular candidate simply because the current Foreign Affairs minister likes the candidate is absurd and not reason enough to employ state machinery just to secure a win via vote rigging.


Joy K. Kabatsi petitioned the law courts accusing rival Hanifa Kawooya of vote malpractices during a race that pitted the two NRM candidates against each other in Sembabule District. The courts overturned Kawooya's 2006 election. It should also be noted that prior to this, Kabatsi had also legally proved that Kawooya unfairly won their party's primary race. In the end, the party leadership gave their backing to Kawooya when they both stood for the bye-elections recently. State security machinery beat the hell out of her opponents' supporters. Kabatsi was now running as an independent. For all we know, Mrs Kabatsi may well return to the law courts for redress. This writer only wonders what would happen if she wins and the election is annulled once again. Why should taxpayers' monies be spent on a circus that is trying to prop up a single, apparently unpopular candidate?

Two weeks ahead of the recent Sembabule bye-elections, Capt. Katabaazi, an Internal Security Organisation (ISO) operative camped in the district where he set up a 'kiboko' (canning) squad to put Kawooya's opponents in line. The Ugandan President, while reacting to MP Banyenzaki's question when meeting MPs from western Uganda at his Rwakituura country home, promised that Capt. Katabaazi would be disciplined for his efforts. While we believe in the President's good intentions, we should not be surprised if the said captain will be 'given a katebe' (remain undeployed) until this storm blows over and then get a promotion when his canning services will be required again.

George Orwell's book 'Animal Farm' seems to be aptly apply here. Some politicians in Uganda are more equal than others. It's baffling why any member of a political party tells a comrade to quit the party and politics if the comrade feels aggrieved by the injustice meted out to the comrade by the first party member or party itself. Where does such a party member get the audacity to tell another person who joined the party out of their own free will to quit? With that kind of attitude, this country is heading to the dogs for sure.

All human beings are equal and if any political party leadership in Uganda think otherwise, we should start worrying about what will happen come 2011. Party coherence and politics should allow that when a party member errs and prosecution follows, the best a party can do is provide that person with a good lawyer. What kind of message does shielding a particular member carry to the rest? One writer once said Africa suffers from stillbirth democracy and in states like Uganda and Kenya, where vote rigging appears to be rewarded by the state, this seems to be true.

Come 2011, this writer feels there is no need for holding elections whose outcome we already know. The writer believes that anyone who has not aligned themselves the right way with the right people in the ruling party's elite network stands no chance of securing a win for any political office in Uganda. As Joe Public, why should this writer suffer police whips just to be allowed to vote? She suggests we give the current government 30 more years and afterwards, those still interested in politics can start waiting for the 'big' men and women to leave power. Such is democracy - to agree to disagree but to remain patient. At the moment, this broke country doesn't need any more elections draining the state coffers when the results are decided by a few individuals before voting even starts. What with the current global financial crisis! When the day to get new political office holders arrives, the state will declare a national holiday, the parties concerned will meet to deliberate on proposed candidates and the next day another public holiday will be declared to swear in the new 'representatives' and we will live happily ever after.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: January 28, 2009
Fiona Abaasa is a UGPulse.com writer based in Kampala. Fiona has been writing for the site since 2005 giving her the second oldest writer history on the site.

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