Election day in Uganda is fast approaching. Feb 18th is the day when voters decide who will be their leader for the next term. Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s current president has been in office since 1986 when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) placed him in power. Currently, there are no term limits applied to the office of president and voters seem to have very little choice in the matter. Here are a few different perspectives on the 2016 elections in Uganda.
As eight presidential candidates race towards this year’s Uganda’s February 18 elections, the United States (US) has said Uganda’s electoral environment is “deteriorating”. The US points to reports about the Uganda Police “using excessive force” as well as the obstruction and dispersal of the political Opposition’s campaign rallies. Through a January 15 press statement, US Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs spokesperson John Kirby also points to the intimidation and arrest of journalists.
These cases, he said, have contributed to a climate of fear and intimidation, and raise questions about the fairness of Uganda’s electoral process. “Free and fair elections depend on all Ugandans being able to exercise their right to assemble peacefully, express their opinions, and participate in the electoral process free from intimidation and abuse,” Mr Kirby said. “They also depend on government institutions and security forces remaining neutral, defending the rights of all people and protecting all parties equally.”
(Wesonga, N. (2016, January 19). US says Uganda’s electoral environment deteriorating. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Elections/US-Uganda-electoral-environment-deteriorating/-/859108/3039380/-/sfgje2z/-/index.html )
Kelsey, our co-founder was in Uganda for the last election and remembers tear gas in the streets and a general sense of political unrest in the capital, Kampala. And once again, that appears to be the case in this current election process.
During this time leading up to the election, other candidates are participating in public debates that have been televised throughout the country. Interestingly enough, President Museveni failed to attend these debates, explaining that “debates were activities for school children (and) therefore I could not comprehend how prospective national leaders could embrace an activity for school children.” He also said there was no time for him to travel from Western Uganda to Kampala where the debates took place. The debate did have seven other candidates for the presidency however, including Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, Ms Maureen Kyalya, Dr. Kizza Besigye, Mr Joseph Mabirizi, Major General Benon Biraaro and Mr Amama Mbabzi.
(Musinguzi, B. (2016, January 19). M7 Is A Coward, Has No Place At Table Of Men— Mabirizi. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://www.redpepper.co.ug/m7-is-a-coward-has-no-place-at-table-of-men-mabirizi/)
President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the presidential flag-bearer for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in the 2016 Presidential election has urged Ugandans to vote carefully in the forthcoming election.
“Your leaders make it hard to plan for the country. Such leaders should be picked carefully. Sending someone without a plan to parliament is spoiling for yourself,” he said.
Museveni was yesterday campaigning at a rally held at Kyamate Secondary School in Kyamate Ward in the Eastern Division of Ntungamo Municipality. He said that it is hard to work with leaders without plans.
(Vote your leaders wisely, carefully – Museveni. (2016, January 09). Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://www.elections.co.ug/new-vision/election/1414477/vote-leaders-wisely-carefully-museveni)
Please pray for the nation of Uganda and its people in the coming weeks especially. This could be a time of turmoil and much wisdom is needed for the leaders of this land. We know that the heart of the ruler is in the hand of God, but covet your prayers for safety and God’s protection during these difficult circumstances.