Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Land of Confusion

Across Uganda, the ruling political party, National Resistance Movement (NRM), is conducting primaries for its flagbearers for different elective positions in the run up to 2011 general elections. The exercise which was supposed to be conducted yesterday (30th August 2010) has been marred by vote rigging, stuffed ballots, missing voters' names, intimidation, vote buying, administrative incompetencies, among a cocktail of many other woes. In many places, there have been postponements. As the Daily Monitor put it, it is a vote of no confidence! Ugandans should definitely ask themselves, if this is a precursor to 2011?

Meanwhile, the opposition are not faring any better albeit in a different way. One of the parties, Uganda Peoples Congress has opted out of the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC)-which was envisaged as a coalition of sorts to front a single opponent to President Yoweri Museveni. I think a two-horse race would have been a boon to Uganda's 'democracy' at this stage than "[many] dog[s] barking at an elephant" (Museveni in 2006, any one remember that?). As with many opposition parties in other countries in Africa, unity of purpose and aim, it seems, can not be agreed on like the IPC seemed geared towards. A squabbling divided opposition is a blessing for the incumbent. Museveni has one less headache, may be he should use the opportunity to concentrate on putting his NRM in order. Is it about time?

In other related developments, the display of voters' register winds up today. Though the Electoral Commission (EC) achieved its target of registering 3.5 million new voters, the display exercise has not attracted as much enthusiasm. However, the EC should be commended for the effort and even enabling online access to the register. Props....after the display, there does not appear a clear-charted way forward from EC...my question is what happens next?

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