There are voices attempting to stop others from speaking out on the political outlook of Uganda while the country is still battling the coronavirus pandemic. But this is not good counsel. It is like stopping a dying father from completing a will to guide his family’s future, simply because his life is presently at stake.
It’s also the same as asking mourners to ignore another critical patient until after the funeral activities of the deceased. Either way, it demonstrates shallow thought. In a deeper analysis, covid-19 is here to make humanity realign ourselves in all spheres, politics inclusive. The more complacent we behave the deeper devastating consequences we shall face. Yet we don’t learn from previous experiences.
Like US President Donald Trump, correctly insinuated, if the World Health Organization [WHO] had drawn early scenarios and response mechanisms against possible strange diseases, the effects of this virus wouldn’t be this disastrous. But humanity, particularly those charged with managing public affairs often opt for crossing the bridge after reaching it, contrary to being proactive.
I’m specifically building a case towards the Independent Electoral Commission of Uganda [IEC], the body mandated with managing the nation’s politics. March, April and May are three months or 90 days knocked off the Ugandan scheduled electoral season without a single political activity due to covid-19. There are less than nine months left to Election Day of February 2021. The lost 90 days are so far how sick the patient, ‘politics’ is already. They are an early signal but are we showing any concern to identify effect mitigation measures?
One of the major permanent fixtures introduced by this pandemic is the shift of conferences from town hall spaces to virtual space. Most political stake holders are not physically involved in fighting the coronavirus. They have nothing technical to offer, and even if they had, their input is restricted. So majority are idle in their homesteads. They would feel more productive if contacted by the ‘Independent’ EC to discuss, through modern technology, the implications of political activities lost so far and others likely to emerge. This offers a more intelligent management of affairs commensurate with available resources and logistics. This proactive engagement is already happening with major football leagues in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Uganda as well as among some agencies organizing major political elections across the world this year. Some of the scheduled African elections this year include Guinea [done, March 22], Burundi [May 20-campaigns started], Mali (May-certain], Ethiopia (Aug-in balance], Tanzania [Oct-certain], Namibia [Nov- uncertain], Ghana (Dec -activities suspended], Gabon (Dec-uncertain}, Senegal [Dec-uncertain], Somalia [Dec-uncertain]. Others are Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire.
Yet, while it’s important to follow and study partners in external elections, they have never and must never form the basis for benchmarking Uganda’s course. For example, Burundi is determined to whether all forms of criticism amid this pandemic rage and ensure to go ahead with the election. Its motivations for daring the deadly health risks are different from the political aspirations of Ugandans. First it is motivated to regain international legitimacy after donors cut off relations. Then it seeks to ditto the Rwandan regional record of financing a national election 100% from domestic resources without donor support. The election will launch the retiring president Pierre Nkrunziza into a new incontestable powerful position of ‘Supreme Leader’, a model copied from Iran that effectively limits foreign influences. It also guarantees Nkrunziza a hefty departure package of half a billion dollars in addition to a life time monthly salary, equivalent to that of a serving president.