By Meddie Kityo
REMAINING with only five months to the Presidential and Parliamentary nominations ahead of 2021 General elections, opposition political parties and ruling NRM have denounced violence, calling for a peaceful, free and fair elections.On a function organised to launch a new pressure group code-named ‘UGANDA FIRST’ at Sibyangu Hotel in Nateete, Lubaga Division – Kampala, leaders from FDC, PDP, DP, NRM, UPC and Gen. Mugisha Muntu’s Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) said any leader planning to cause violence before, during or after elections will not to tolerated sending warnings to Electoral commission, religious leaders and security organs to desist from being partisan or else, their acts may easily be the march box that will lit the fire.”We are here to urge all leaders, all political actors, fellow countrymen and women to exercise responsibility and restraint, in particular to reject all forms of violence, hate speech, discrimination, inflammatory utterances, political intolerance and incitement to electoral violence in 2021. Say no to violence, Uganda remains even after elections.” Said DP’s D. Kavuma, the interim leader of this pressure ground. Amidst chants from hundreds of Youth who attended this function, Kavuma a lawyer by profession said, “We implore all State institutions including Police, the army and independent electoral commission to respect and adhere to their constitutional mandate to ensure a violent free elections.”
Peace in our elections has proved elusive and today marks a historic opportunity for our Nation as it takes a big step forward, towards achieving a violent free elections for many Ugandans want peace and they want it badly.It is our civic responsibility as citizens to commit ourselves towards building a better future by establishing social, economic and political order based on constitutional principles.We as Uganda First commend credible election values including respect for all stakeholders and we contend that elections besides other political processes are notable reflection of our Country’s good and quality governance, however, if marred with violence, it can be a setback to the County’s democratic development.The Independent Electoral Commission already uploaded a revised key milestone for the 2020/2021 general elections road map that will usher in the new government and as Ugandans wrings their hands wondering who their next leaders should be, tensions continue to mount amongst different political factions and thus, the fear of wide spread violence or even, isolated incidents in the forthcoming elections, can not be ignored.The country continues to make strides towards consolidating democracy, peace and stability but we are deeply concerned that our electoral processes have previously been plagued into violence which manifestations of lawlessness have been meted out by Ugandans against fellow UgandansBefore and during elections, innumerable incidents of violence happened between the security forces and the protestors and also, between the different political factions in some parts of the country. Most notably in Kasese and Bundibugyo, violence escalated and resulted in casualties with areas such as Kasenyi, Buhuhira, Bukisi, Hima and Buhji left in ruins after 2016 Local Council elections. The post election time was also shrouded that resulted into reports of numerous arrests and as a result, 22 protestors were reportedly killed the country’s by-election in Jinja, Arua and Bugiri registered incidents of election violence with Arua recording the worst chaotic scenes and serious human rights abuses which raised serious local and International concerns.Since then, many Ugandans worry that violence is likely to dominate the 2021 polls and this has prompted serious calls for peace as was remarkably noted by religious and cultural leaders during the 2019 Christmas sermons.Echoing appeals voiced by majority peace loving Ugandans and being supported by many others who have denounced participation in violence, we seek to move and remind Ugandans that electoral violence does not solve our society problems and Uganda remains after the elections.There could be traces and signals of incitement to electoral violence by some persons including leaders but security forces are also promising to suppress such incidents.It would therefore be logical to avoid such foreseable clashes that could result into many needless arrests, death and destruction of property, all Ugandans should avoid descent into violence for the ultimate responsibility in our hands to promote the inclusive spirit of harmony.Our plan is a great plan for Uganda and since many Ugandans have endorsed our vision, we share that commitment and look forward to working with everyone to ensure all Ugandans embrace what you and us have worked so hard to achieve.
WE’LL SPREAD THE ANTI-VIOLENCE GOSPEL
Paul Kizza a senior journalist and political talkshow host on Channel 44 tv who was elected UGANDA FIRST Spokesman and National Cordinator said they are going to traverse the whole country, spreading message of non violent elections.”This platform brings togather leaders from different regions, religions, tribes and political parties. We need to have one message, a message of non violent elections and we will spread it all over the country.” Said Kizza.
WE ARE AMBASSADORS OF PEACE – ANT PARTY
Zerida Kakayi, a reknown activist formerly from FDC now in Gen. Muntu party said, “We don’t believe in violence. When ever we have violence, women suffer most. We must give a message to unite people but not to divide them. I request all of you here to be ambassadors. We want free violent elections in 2021.”Launch was attended by among others; Prince Robert Tibamwenda Omwami from Kasese, a minister from Rwenzurulu, Chairman Vincent Mpiima, counsel John Vincent Zziwa, Tugume from FDC, Hussein Kyalimpa from NRM who will coordinate Rwenzori region and Asiimwe Maggie a lecturer at Mountain of the Moon university elected to coordinateTooro. Youth led by one Joseph Kaddu Ssekitooleko confessed to be the ring leader of riots in Kampala.”Am now a changed man, we want a peaceful country.” Said a notorious Kaddu.