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PAUL MUGOYA: Without Term Limits, Elections Are A Vehicle To Justify Continuous Stay In Power

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The future of Uganda lies with the NRM government. It is only NRM that will determine the future of our country because they are the ones holding power unless otherwise. They can either make or crush the country. The power and the prerogative to make good decisions are with them.

Already, the development partners are signaling fatigue with the present leadership because of corruption, increasing personalization of power by the President, and abuse of human rights. All of the above-mentioned are contradictory to the aspirations of the Revolution.

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The original intention of the Revolution was not to make President Museveni a life President. The intention was to make NRM the dominant Party. Unfortunately, Mr. Museveni has been compromised by power. He thinks he is too good to go.

Patrice Lumumba of Congo once said, “Times are good things. No matter how good a dancer you are, you must leave the stage”. Previous leaders made mistakes. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Let us give the young ones a chance to govern themselves and we give them guidance. President in his early times won worldwide acclaim because he was clear-headed socialist and focused with a frugal mind .

At that time he wouldn’t have allowed corruption to prevail and thrive as it is today. Today, he has a changed mind. A capitalistic mind of exploitation and subjugation. He recently said corruption is good so long as they don’t take the money outside the country. But forgetting that corruption is a vice which has an element of criminality and exclusion.

Now look at our Air Force planes crashing almost on a monthly basis, this because of corruption. Purchasing not airworthy goods for the Air Force will not sustain our air defense system in case we are in war, ‘enjawulo.’ These planes are falling down like stones because of corruption just as Gen. Muhoozi once mentioned that there is unchecked corruption in the Ministry of Defense.

In the earlier times, he had very good intentions because he had wanted to sanitize the governance and politics of Uganda which was a well thought idea. Unfortunately, instead today, we are reversing backward. It wasn’t the intention for NRM to perpetuate an individual into power but what I know, NRM came to stay. What one sows is what you rip.

The overstay of Mr. Museveni in power will have serious implications to the country. His continuous stay in power is bringing diminishing returns to the country. NRM should not dance that NUP does not have plans. This is just cheap propaganda. The moment NUP is allowed a democratic space to freely mobilize as the Constitution provides, NRM will realize what I’m saying.

NRM has gone off track betraying those who died during the struggle and we who are still breathing, that NRM has not seen other people within the Party allowed to challenge Mr. Museveni for the Presidency. Why should we deny other competent young individuals an opportunity to have a shot at the Presidency and allow the country share with them their potentiality.

President Museveni has let down the country on corruption, democracy, employment and service delivery. This is looking ugly. Look at Kampala city now, look at the paralysis that has hit other cities and administrative units. He said this himself, that Kampala is rich in potholes. And this comes from horses’ mouth himself, the gentleman who should be himself responsible to correct the mess as the Chief Executive for Kampala city.

Democracy:
In many cases, and more particularly in developing and underdeveloped or least developed countries, democracy is not real. The democracy practiced in such countries is fake. Given our culture, it is difficult to practice exactly the West Minister House of Commons style of Democracy.

Secondly, we are yet to transition from militarism. Elections here are cajoled and ritualized, and in most cases there is State-inspired violence. Ordinarily, democracy is the observance and respect of the separation of powers in the governance of the people. Unfortunately, some leaders manipulate the system to favor their continuous entrenchment in power. Some leaders are themselves all over dominating the three arms of governance. They have become the Alfa and Omega of governance. These

Elections are conducted to allow people to have a choice of their leaders. But in most cases, these elections are rigged in favor of the incumbents where levels of transparency are questioned. To some extent, elections are commercialized, and militarised. These elections are normally held in a repressive, violent environment, where voter intimidation is rife.

In these circumstances, opponents and their supporters are seen as enemies of the State. People are even maimed or killed by the security forces, like what happened in the elections in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, some elections have been conducted like war, an example is the 2021 general election.

This has resulted in a lack of trust in elections, where voters have started to lose voting interest. There is growing voter apathy. Partisan elections in these parts of the world are divisive and polarising. Even the elections in DRC are far better because the term limit is entrenched in their Constitution.

There is a need for the term limits to be reintroduced, and revert to individual merit. This system is a suitable model for holding the nation together. Term limits are good for checking out leaders who can become parasitic to the national coffers and a liability to the taxpayers.

Currently, the Electoral Commission is not Independent and transparent. There is much interference from the State. Because most times it serves the interests of the incumbent who at the same time is a competitor which is a conflict of interest. When it comes to releasing the outcome, results are delayed with no formal communication to explain the delay.

At times the internet is switched off, disabling information flow, making checks and balances difficult. This puts the voters in total darkness which raises the suspicion of rigging in the eyes of the voters. There is one thing that has escaped the minds of the leaders.

That the results are owned by the people, and that the only function and responsibility of the government is to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair manner and to ensure the protection of the voters and their votes plus an orderly delivery of results in a transparent civilized manner.

Challenges In Democracy:

1. Lack of an independent Electoral system.
2. Militarisation of elections.
3. Commercialization of politics.
4. Interference from the Executive.
5. Lack of transparency and accountability by auditing of the results.
6. Delayed opening of polling centers and distribution of election material.
7. Failure to procure proper voting machines at the right optimum time.8. The domination of the electoral process by the Incumbent. This has far negative reaching consequences on the outcome of elections.
9. Partisanship; partisan politics is divisive.
10. Huge Parliament; is as lame as a sitting duck.
11. Revolutionary cadres have been abandon and left to age and rot in poverty.
12. Those who were the enemies of the Revolution are the ones now in charge.
13. Intrigue, discrimination, corruption, nepotism, greed, bigotry etc. have consumed nationalism and patriotism.
14. Wastage; opulence in an ocean of poverty.
15. Patronage; political patronage is rife for regime survival.
16. After 40yrs in power what do we expect after this term. By now all regions should have been transformed.

Way forward:
There is a need to make electoral reforms by a bipartisan approach. An independent Electoral Commission should be appointed by a Judicial Commission with representatives of political parties.

NB: A reminder for those who didn’t know, President Museveni stood for freedom and liberty plus transparency and the restoration of sanity and orderly governance. This became the pinnacle that shot Mr.Museveni into the lime light making him shine as new breed of African leaders.

Mr. Museveni was among the top most 5 highly regarded and respected African leaders but it was also with the support of the people. Mr. Museveni has very high IQ and he is a very good strategist. Unfortunately, he is a bad implementor and manager and has failed to implement and enforce his strategies.

There is a saying that, longevity in power and age makes one become kind and soft to his supporters, that even if they made serious mistakes he is blind to see them. Unfortunately, he has never been kind and generous to us who stood with him since the early times when he was not the President.

I wish he retired peacefully and see him sitting under the canopy of a tree shade watching over those beautiful Ankole cows with a peaceful mind. My humble request to the President is, build an airport and 7 star Hotel for the Elgon region to promote tourism in memory of the FRONASA struggle.

This will also connect us directly to the international business world. Secondly, merge the PDM program to the cottage industry by popularizing milling of sunflower cooking oil as thriving product by introducing Oil Milling across the country.

Looking forward for a better future. For God and My Country.

The writer is Paul Polly Mugoya, a FRONASA Veteran.

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