As the 2021 general elections draw ever closer, the fickle opposition political groups are finding themselves between self generated rocks and hard places on whether to participate. In all previous elections opposition groups have squabbled over whether the elections would be free and fair, and often tried to demobilise their supporters in pre-election activities like voter registration.
By Ofwono Opondo
Tuesday this week government inaugurated seven new ‘cities’ by elevating former municipalities of Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Masaka, Mbarara, and Fort Portal to city status, with the objective that physical planning, implementation of activities and general administration will be better. The last, Fort Portal, named after a British colonial army officer, deserve change of name. The designation of cities should therefore be welcome as acknowledgement of their achievements and providing impetus for higher ambitions.
With the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown measures, the electoral commission issued the revised electoral roadmap for the 2021 general elections first published in 2018 to which all stakeholders including registered political parties were invited. It was therefore surprising that the roadmap enlisted hostile reception from almost all opposition political groups claiming they hadn’t been consulted. But we need to state that these groups have always been cry babies mainly because they are never ready for anything.
On Uganda’s 31st Heroes Day morning, June 9, 2020, RO/00692 Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Samuel Wasswa Kasirye Ggwanga 68, a maverick professional soldier, prisoner of war, rebel, soldier and officer again was pronounced dead from Nakasero hospital. Ggwanga had battled months of debilitating conditions where he was in and out of different medical facilities.
The hot anger burning on US streets from Minneapolis to Miami is testing the ability of its leaders to address grievances that go far beyond the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. America, isn’t feeling the absence of leadership but rather the malevolence in leadership.
As the world unlocks COVID-19 pandemic measures, the political truce is getting over. Some Ugandans are demanding to know if the 2021 general elections will be held as scheduled and safely. Many political analysts think that postponement isn’t an option because the electoral commission, police, and political parties will agree on standard operating procedures (SOPs) to govern the campaigns.
Uganda is presently managing national emergency response to COVID-19, floods, landslides and possible famine in parts of the country that require a well prepared national risk register. The register should comprise civil emergencies that could conceivably strike Uganda and how government responds to each of them. During the two months the talk didn’t get translated quickly into planning, funding, preparedness and stocking vital equipment which have all caused the slowdown in effective response.
The unknown dangers and threats from COVID-19 pandemic entry into Uganda in February of this year pushed all the abrasive actors to the edge forcing them to comply without complaints against government measures including many drastic actions like banning large gatherings, mass transportation, closure of businesses, imposing night curfew, and an extended countrywide lockdown. This was in according to many, a vote of confidence in Government and particularly, President Yoweri Museveni’s able leadership.
For the last one month, parliament has been rumbling hungrily and angrily firstly, against an apparent lackluster relief food distribution to the vulnerable city dwellers within the Kampala metropolitan area, which has sadly walked a snail’s pace partly because of logistical challenges, slow food supply, and organizational inefficiency, incompetence and corruption. Having been exposed over 10Bn backslap, MPs are now seeking refugee in anger.
When President Yoweri Museveni announced countrywide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 fight, not many people apparently immediately knew the full extent of the social and economic distress that would ensue particularly to the urban underprivileged. Consequently, the decision to give relief food items in Kampala metropolitan was grossly underestimated, and understandably slowing down supply and distribution to the most vulnerable beneficiaries.