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EU Observers were Busy Taking Tea, Swigging Beers

By Ofwono Opondo

Feb 24, 16                           

The members of the European Union (EU) Election Observer mission to Uganda still suffering from a colonial and imperial hangover have been making ludicrous statements on the just concluded elections which ought not to pass unchallenged. They are trying to hit real hard from all sides and when they hit us, they should get hit right back.
Firstly it is necessary to state that I was on the small NRM team that met all the election observer teams including those from the EU, the Commonwealth led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICLR) and COMESA led by former Zambian president Rupia Banda, the East African Community (EAC) led by former Tanzanian president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, and those from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
It ought to be known also that these observer missions were in Uganda at the invitation of the Uganda government and every effort was and continues to be made to facilitate their stay and work un-impeded. Indeed, the NRM met these groups separately and had very candid discussions with them which we had hoped deepened their understanding and appreciation of Uganda’s electoral laws and procedures, but unfortunately it is turning out from their reports and statements in the media that they came with predetermined and fixed positions that elections in Uganda cannot pass what they believe as good.
The EU observers having been dully fed on falsehoods by their embassies and local yellow dogs here came with the mindset that elections wouldn’t be free and fair, president Yoweri Museveni will not handover power even if he lost elections, and that there will be violence of unimaginable proportions. The on-going subterfuge led by the Head of EU Delegation in Uganda Kristian Schmidt visiting Kizza Besigye at his home is part of a wide although futile effort at forcing Museveni to form the so called government of national unity. These self-assuming Europeans believe that they can do to Uganda what they have done in Libya, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and now Burundi.
It is very disturbing that although there were many election observer groups those particularly from the EU have found it necessary and convenient to try and throw mud at the just concluded Uganda’s electoral process as if only they were here and therefore have monopoly of what constitutes a democratic, free, fair and credible elections.
When we met the EU mission in particular at Sheraton hotel on the afternoon of February 16, 2016, NRM presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni was winding up his last campaign rally at the Kololo Independence Ceremonial Grounds. On the same day, Besigye of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was winding up his last rally in Naguru in Nakawa Division.
None of the eight members EU mission attended either of those rallies, which I found curious considering that Museveni and Besigye were the leading presidential candidates, and Kololo and Naguru very much within proximity. To add salt to injury I even asked them if any of them had ventured outside Kampala to ‘observe’ the electoral process and their unified response was in the negative. Now, these are what many describe as credible election observers whose indicting reports should be taken seriously. They were in Kampala, and specifically in Sheraton hotel taking tea, swigging beer, sipping wine and puffing cigars, and want the innocent public to believe that they did an impeccable job. Here, I can only say, please pass me the salt! Those election observers’ are good for nothing.
Their collective anger which they have found hard to disguise is that being the financiers of the opposition doomed Gang of Two they loathe any other scenario. Although they are dealing with a legitimate government, some of them behave like hucksters selling knockoff items in down town back streets. For instance a credible election observer would have looked for the nomination lists of the different political parties to ascertain whether indeed if they got elected they would democratically push through the drastic reforms they talked about during the campaigns. In fact they should have asked candidates for proof they had agents at all the polling stations across the country so that when they now make claims of being cheated that could be one element to look out for.
There is no dispute that election materials delayed to arrive at thirty eight (38) polling stations in Kampala and Wakiso, where in any case voters indeed voted and the votes were counted, tallied and added on to final count. Now for a good observer to conclude that that mishap drastically affected results in the over 28,000 other stations is really an absurdity.