Africa, this is no time for Fatalism

January–AYMer of the Month
February 10, 2016
Lettre à la jeunesse Gabonaise
September 2, 2016

It is dangerous to be right when the Government is wrong – Voltaire

The current escalation of tension in Uganda is not a very big surprise to many in Africa, it is never an easy task to be free from oppressive leaders, especially the leaders who have characterized African politics for over three decades, and they have for a long time coated their mind with the delusion of being the saviors of their people refusing to believe in the possibility of any other individual’s leadership. Most of these leaders have tampered with the very fiber of democracy in their countries, altering the constitutions to accommodate their dictatorial demands. Recently in the second presidential debate in Kampala, the incumbent president of Uganda Mr. Museveni, explicitly stated that he was “the only one capable of leading the country”, he has always looked down at everyone who stand up to challenge his views with disdain, calling his opponents “girls and boys”, and his impudence is evident in all of his actions towards his competitors.

 

Newly re-elected president Yoweri Museveni, in power since three decades, gestures as he speaks during a press conference at his country house in Rwakitura, about 275 kilometres west of the capital Kampala on February 21, 2016. Uganda's veteran leader was declared the winner of the country's presidential election with 60 percent of the vote on February 20, far ahead of the 35 percent won by detained opposition chief Kizza Besigye, whose house was surrounded by police in riot gear as the results were announced. Uganda's presidential election was marred by chaos as the Electoral Commission failed to deliver the voting materials to most of the Kampala based polling stations. / AFP / Isaac Kasamani (Photo credit should read ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

 

On the 18th Feb, we woke up to the promise of a calm and peaceful day of voting, maybe a sign of “democratic elections”, with the commitment, as citizens to choose the leaders we believe in. We entrusted both Government institutions, designed to ensure transparent elections and international observers, who in our hopes would oversee the process and ensure the accountability. To our dismay, these institutions have had very little to say about the ongoing discrepancies during the election process. The Electoral Commission of Uganda lost credibility because of its partisan disposition, with its head making derogative comments about the main opposition presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, saying, “he is not fit to be President”, and that “if it were up to him, he wouldn’t have nominated him”.  The Commission sets itself to ensure the unconditional restoration of a dictatorial government, which is very unpopular amongst majority of young people making up over 70% of the country’s population of which majority of them are unemployed due to massive corruption and sectarianism in Uganda.

It is then no surprise that the majority of civil servants are only mules to the president. They fought with him to take over power and since then, the president has made sure to grant the most influential positions in the civil service to his comrades. Unfortunately for him, many of his comrades are starting to take a stand against his rule. His former friend, Secretary General of the ruling party and Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi, joined the protest of the current dictatorship, standing againstMuseveni in these presidential elections saying: ‘what he regretted the most in his public service life was not to fight dictatorship when it showed its face’. Unfortunately not everyone has a chance to oppose Museveni freely like Mbabazi, because otherwise you will be subjected to arrest and death threats as most of the opposition have been enduring since the elections.

Therefore, the current activities of the Electoral Commission such as denying other constituencies the right to vote, supplying voting materials five hours later, witnessing of illegal activities without action and so forth… only confirm our suspicions, that they are determined under any circumstance to deny the birth of a democratic and transparent government for the people of Uganda.

The violence arising comes as a result of the frustration of citizens, seeing their very voices  being flashed down the drains and the government doing what it pleases. The election results are being altered… no one is being allowed to speak about it… social media has been blocked… We know the world is watching but we want the world to know the voice of the young Ugandans, who desire to make their voice count in their own country… who want to be able to live freely and with dignity.

We are powerless, if even our very vote is thrown to the bin, war is no solution to any problem and the world shall stand with us in condemning these atrocities.

The police whose job is to protect people, has been involved in spurious activities in the name of “maintaining order” but with little respect for the freedoms of people. They have been involved in more tear gassing than solving the major crimes within the country. Citizens have lost confidence in them. They beat, harass, detain unlawfully anyone who stands to speak against oppression in the country. The Police and army are the president’s henchmen. What are we to do then as citizens if the very people we trust to protect us deny us our very basic freedoms, to choose for our country?

This is a new generation, we should resist from falling back and embracing oppressive governments. Fatalism should end. ‘Destiny is not written on a stone’, we have to create a future for generations to come. We have waited for 30 years and for how long do we count, as the fat cats grow bigger and the citizens wallow in oppression and poverty?  We have to stand up and unshackle from the dictatorships of three decades that is trickling down to our generations, denying us the freedom of expression and of decent life with dignity,

Young people, let us not take guns, but organize for a peaceful revolution. We need to raise up our voices and remind these honorable fathers of ours that the power belongs to the people and not with he who directs the guns. We hope, that the world does not keep a blind eye to these events that are unfolding in Uganda. For God and my country.

By Moses Jirah

AyaChebbi
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Aya Chebbi

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