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Showing posts from 2015

Here's one reason why we should decriminalise the word "Change" in Uganda's politics

Each professional field will always have its lingua. In the civil society field where I am from, you will most probably find words such as “grassroots” commonly used.These may however not be as common as you will find “methodology” in research or phrases like, “story angle” in the media circles.
Over a decade or two ago, political sloganeering in Uganda was heavily punctuated with various expressions, which at the center carried the word “change”.In the 1996 election, the “we want change” camp battled with the “no change team” and the “no change” took the day.While “change” was used to describe affection or the lack of it towards certain political ideas, today it has become one of the most detested words in Uganda’s politics.Talk of stigmatization.The word “change” has been strongly stigmatized.Political, social and economic banter that has single or repetitive reference to “change” will be gauged and treated to the petty political polarization grid.
The word "change" has lat…

Here’s another reason to believe; lessons from Myanmar!

Many folks of the older generation will still call it Burma.  Once the name pops up, it will invoke memoires of the 1939 – 1945 world war two. Although unsung, some of our grand parents or great grand parents remain as famous as the English ‘Mad Jack’ who fought in the same war. While Jack earned his fame out of using a broadsword, bow and arrows against the new rifle and tank technology, our grandparents are revered because they either had their military training in Burma or they fought alongside British Commonwealth troops in the most challenging Burmese terrain during the Second World War.
When Uganda was getting its independence in 1962, Burma was falling prey to a military coup that has since seen it through different shades of military rule to-date. In 2010, there was a semblance of multiparty elections that were later largely described as ‘fraudulent’.A military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) declared victory in that election. Millions of Burmese respecte…

The unresolved question of electoral reform and what that means for Uganda's 2016 elections

Come 2016, Uganda will go to the polls with yet again the question of an unresolved “legal map”.Whereas we may boast of having had a “road map” several years before the next election, the “legal map” for the 2016 election has again not been clearly defined especially to the people’s expectations.The boarders and boundaries of this “legal map” have since 2001 been a big issue – with several stakeholders unremittinglysuggesting how this can be plugged, but in vain. Since 2001, one of the highlights of each subsequent election cycle has always been to postpone concrete electoral reforms – talk about shelving a problem and deferring a solution.That is exactly what it has been!Someone else could look at it differently; the small incremental reforms that have been undertaken since the early 2000s could be seen as mere soothers to a serious malignancy.Of what use would it be to take an aspirin capsule once a week with faith that it will cure a fully blown cancer? Similarly, one would be qui…

Professionalism key this election season

The fresh-faced dynamism with which Ugandans are gearing up for next year’s election, makes 2016 one of the most important elections capable of re-writing the political script of Uganda, post independence.At this point, you probably cannot be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be just like any other election.It is not.Some of the circumstantial issues to blame include the likelihood of having either some new serious contenders or contenders with new serious energy as compared to the previous elections.Just that anecdotal occurrence is more than likely to inject a fresh lease of verve in what has been typically described as an ‘apathetic’ electorate.Actually, I think it has already done so – some acquaintances who I would casually say have always been cynical and indifferent about politics in the past years are getting psyched up already (only hoping that, that vim will translate into actual meaningful participation in the upcoming electoral milestones). On the supply side, th…

Internal Party Democracy is critical ahead of Uganda's 2016 elections

We live in a business world today, where the concept of competition has gained a lot of prominence.Entrepreneurs are cutting their teeth in matching the competitors in their space.And because of this environment, creativity, innovation, invention, name it are becoming so staple in today’s business world.The doctrines of business that were once confined to the economic society have gradually spread into the social and political drapery.Attempts to be democratic or appear to be democratic in many societies have further exhilarated the spirit of political competition – painting politics as a field exclusive to only those able to withstand the “heat”.Political competition in itself is not bad and therefore we shouldn’t groan under the strain of competitive politics but rather sanitize that competition to ensure that every member of society feels confident and respected to participate in politics both at a political party level and at the national level.
Today, the focus of my piece will be…

Young people key in Uganda's 2016 elections

The 2015/2016 general elections are probably going to be the most crucial elections that Uganda has seen in its post independence era.  Besides coming hot on the heels of an already tensed up electoral terrain, these are going to be the first elections in which most (if not all) of the eligible voters aged 18 years and above will be on the voters’ register and capable of voting.  Thanks to the Electoral Commission’s decision to extract eligible voters’ particulars from the National Identification Register!  If well managed, the 2016 voters' register will be the first, most inclusive register, carrying all eligible Ugandans on the voters’ roll. Now, you may wonder how this will change the political contours of Uganda. Unlike in the past elections where we have had large numbers of voters missing out on the actual voting because they weren’t listed on the register, 2016 is going to be an election where all eligible voters will actually be on the voters' register and capable of vo…

It is in the politicians' interest to mobilise eligible voters to get on to the national voters’ register

The 2008 Zimbabwe election has been one of the most hotly contested races on the African continent in recent times. In that election, the twenty-eight year political rule of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) was stiffly challenged by new comer, Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T). The tight nature of the race could not avail Zimbabwe an outright President in the first round, a reason why a run-off was called later in the year. As fate would have it then, Mugabe (aka ‘Uncle Bob’) beat Tsvangirai. Many have contended by all intents and purposes that this was Tsvangirai’s election.  These sentiments partly informed the latter occurrences where the Zimbabwe government of 2008 – 2013 had to be shared between ‘Uncle Bob’ and Tsvangirai through a government of national unity arrangement. Having had an opportunity to interface with the subsequent 2013 Zimbabwe election first hand, I picked up a few lessons …