Birango's Blog

The sway of the Ugandan vote! | February 16, 2011

Mpenkoni, mpenkoni’, I am sure so many of you must have listened to this rendition from yours truly, the incumbent candidate for Presidential elections in Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni which apparently was to woo youthful voters.

What has surprised me more is how this Rwakituura man has completely changed his game plan as he seeks to manoeuver through the tangled web of Ugandan politics tinged with tribal sentiments.

With a day to the Ugandan Presidential elections, Museveni, has this time round concentrated on hooking on the youth to his bandwagon, riding on his triumph on Kony’s LRA to convince Northern Uganda that they are returning to their glory days and some slice of luck that his competitors will drown themselves out by splitting votes that would have proved a headache had he gone head on with close opponent, Kizza Besigye.

Many analysts though have talked about Buganda being his Achilles heels, but a closer look will show that by trying to appeal to his Buganda voters on diverse grounds apart from tribal and royalty, he seems to be winning the Buganda youth, a large group considering that they dominate the Ugandan population. Ditto, the vote splitting by the likes of Bidandi Ssali, Beti Kamya and Lubega, though I doubt about the latter managing more than 50 votes.

So it seems, Museveni has mastered the game this time, by putting in position a strategy based on research about his opponents DNA and then going on to use every tactic in the book to outwit them. This would mean a not so direct rigging process and thus not so much violence.

The question remains will the incumbent not rig, like it has been alleged in the past. To an extent it could be true, even if you put out the crappy opinion polls that were published in the national Newspaper, the New Vision.

Word though has been going around that Museveni with his Movement cohorts have gone around the country dishing out brown envelopes bulging with wads of cash to voters. This may not be that subtle too but what about missing names in the registers or the alleged groups of people that are ferried into the country during the election period to vote for Museveni, like in the past.

Certainly if Museveni is to cheat in this year’s election it will not be direct as he knows how the political turf has evolved in Uganda and also putting Kenya, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Egypt in mind.

Among his closest challengers, is Kiiza Besigye, his opponent for the last two elections and who has held his own for a very long time with the promise to always stand until he defeats Museveni.

Unlike the past when the seating government arrested him over trumped and half baked cases plus series of other arm twisting tactics, he has been given the mantle to go through his campaigns without any chaos.

It is pertinent to note that even though he promises a lot in reforms, his campaign strategies have always been his main undoing and this time most of his involuntary followers have moved on to other interesting opposition candidates like Beti Kamya, Nobert Mao and Olara Otunnu.

A rather very disturbing element that has seen opposition groups self destruct and always hand the driving seat back to the incumbent.

With Museveni, being the front runner, one would wonder what the electorate will gain from his longer by every ‘one more limit free term’ rule. Pertinent is to note that putting away the debilitating corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure and the failure to get any meaningful project to help in the development of the rural population there has been relative peace and a platform for entrepreneurship development.

This is bound to develop serious inequalities though as the unemployed youth and rural peasants are being suffocated by the corrupt and privileged few.

Thus there is need to reform education and most importantly the curriculum has to be revamped away from the useless rote learning to vocational and more practical stuff. Teachers in this case need to be given a living wage and the current free education model has to be revised for purposes of efficiency.

On the medical side, doctors too need a living wage of their own and a comprehensive health policy that will root out drug theft, train more medical workers, stop the brain drain will somehow reduce the rot that has seen overall, a Ugandans’ standard of living deteriorate.

Corruption should be fought at a civic level and the fight should be started in parliament with the media being given some say in it.

Research has to be done in every project that comes up concerning rural development especially in agriculture. NAADS program has exposed the government on how they come up with poorly prepared projects which end up benefiting corrupt individuals.

In that case micro finance institutions would rather be made commercial banks and the cooperative associations would be whiff of fresh air if returned in a situation were the bewildered peasants have been left to the dogs.

Nevertheless, Museveni will be starting a very difficult term considering that the presence of UPDF in Somalia, oil discovery, unemployment and angry youth, his never ending grip to power will dominate this probable last run, or is it?

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