Something spectacular is lingering in the air and this is in respect to the 2016 elections. Everyone is trying to make sense of what it is or better still what it will be. The opinion polls, the political analyses, the media debates and dialogues are all part of the effort to figure out how the 2016 poll is likely to play out.
Campaign platforms are supposed to originate from real issues that confront people. In many countries however, we have seen political figures sometimes artificially constructing the issues so that they can have seemingly ‘credible’ platforms on which to premise their campaigns. I am talking about the irony of creating a problem so that you can provide the solution! That is just exactly what is gaining currency in many parts of the world today.
Forget about the clean authentic ancient Greek elections where those aspiring to stand for political office would spend time understanding people’s real issues. Today, even credible scientific research into society problems is dismissed by those very persons intending to take leadership positions.
I for instance know of a headmaster who is extremely opposed to the conduct and dissemination of scientific research that speaks to his school’s real problems. For him, this research doesn’t make much sense – it undermines rather than strength his popularity position amongst his students simply because it bring to the fore real issues or problems that he many times does not address. On the other hand, he keeps his popularity amongst his students through an easier way; he create a problem that he ‘alone’ can address. And because he finds unsuspecting students, he is seen as the only man who can deal with it. On many occasions he has gotten away with his ‘wit’. Those who can’t see that he is the only one fit to solve the problem are normally labeled ‘sinners’.
Recently, one young ‘democracy’ with a population of 90 million people and over 70 political parties went to the polls. Prior to the elections, the country’s astronomical figures translated into just two presidential candidates – one of which was an ‘independent’ candidate (an army general) while the other was a civilian from a relatively small party (some argue he contested on the general’s orders to legitimize the election). Once the presidential election was called, the country was gripped with a wave of repugnant acts such as unexplained disappearances, robberies, thefts, murders, etcetera. In the wake of all these, one candidate came out with resolution to wipe out such gruesome occurrences. It was perfect coincidence; this candidate was a former Commander in Chief of the country’s Armed Forces, he was a serving Defence Minister before opting to run for office and he is the man who ran the county’s security and intelligence strategy for a couple of decades – he was definitely the right guy for the job, wasn’t he? Yes, he was the best candidate to fix all those perceivably authentic ‘insecurities’. By all intents and purposes, he fit the bill and of course ‘deserved and got the vote’. The question that remained in the minds of many was whether the pre-election insecurities were actually genuine or just choreographed to influence the people’s vote!
For Uganda, 2016 is being approached with a lot of tact, thought and anxiety. One issue that has been amplified as a critical campaign platform in Uganda in previous elections has been the promise to guarantee security. This has been the red-thread in many previous presidential candidates’ manifestos since 1996. In the absence of an eminent security threat on which to build the credibility of that campaign platform, could some people be right to think that the risks of artificially creating insecurity may high?
Just thinking; this time round, could it be phantom dissident groups popping up in different corners of the country? Or will it be specter frights in urban centers? Could it be the conflict in South Sudan cascading to the boarders of Uganda? Or will it be contrived break-ins and thefts sweeping through the country?
What is it that is going to electrify panic in the electorate this time? Your guess is as good as mine!
Whatever it is, don’t rule out the fact that it could be a mere specter. Whatever it is, be on the guard, check to make sure it is not a mirage to hoodwink you unsuspecting voter. Check to make sure somebody is not pulling the rug under your feet for any selfish reason!