COUNSEL NYOMBI: UGANDA ELECTIONS – A MYTH OR A WELL DESIGNED MOCKERY TO DEMOCRACY (PART 1)

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OPINION:

……therefore the People Power Movement suited it’s self to this direction. 

However, the time it’s architects opted to take part in an election in which Mr. M7 is a party, it fell a victim as well.

  

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HOW DID WE GET HERE

Ugandans had many elections. The first elections were conducted in 1958. They were organised by the colonial government, to enable the entity now Uganda, prepare a government to lead to the attainment of independence. 

The results were as follows; Uganda National Congress (UNC) got 5 seats, Democratic Party (DP) 1seat and independents 4 seats.

The second election, was in 1960. It saw DP winning 43 seats, UPC 35 seats,  and others took 13 seats to the Legislature. 

Following this victory,  DP formed  a government, under the leadership of Benedict Kiwanuka. His government however, was short lived, since another election was conducted in 1962 on April 25th. 

This election, its argued, was designed to defeat DP. Infact as a result of the coalition between UPC and KY (Kabaka Yekka or King only)party,  the coalition scored 58 seats.

The fourth election,was the referendum on the lost counties of  Bugangaizi and Buyaga. This was two years after independence attainment.

The British had given the two lost counties to Buganda from Banyoro as a reward for supporting the imposition of colonial rule to Uganda . 

However Bunyoro kingdom kept on claiming and crying for their return.  

In the referendum later arranged, three questions were asked-  To unify the counties with Bunyoro kingdom? creation of a separate district that would be part of neither kingdom?  or remaining a part of Buganda kingdom?

From these elections there were never any other elections in Uganda until 1980.

The 1980 elections arguably won by Uganda People’s Congress, is the index of assessing what an election means to a certain  part of  Uganda’s modern electoral  History. 

Under the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM), M7 did take part in this election, scoring 1 seat.  DP got  50 seats and Uganda peoples’ Congress scoring 72 seats. While conservative party got 00 seats.  

The 1980 elections had two features; first it was the first elections in Uganda to have electoral observers.

The turn  up was so high, whilst there was no civic education. 

The election was tainted with massive voter intimidation and vote rigging. 

Neither the international  observers nor the majority of the population, including some members who were candidates, accepted the results. 

The following words from one of the 1980 election participants explain the character of these elections ;

“……Muwanga’s government refused to amend the electoral law, hoping to use it’s loopholes to cheat through double voting, switching ballot boxes, false counting, gerrymandering constituencies, hooliganism and so on.”

“My own constituency in Nyabushozi was gerrymandered. Taking advantage of the fact that voting was likely to be on a religious basis, the sub counties of Nyakashashara, Sanga and Kashongi were removed from Nyabushozi and made part of another constituency. ” 

“These subcounties were mainly protestant, cattle keeping areas, and they were exchanged for Ibanda county which was occupied by Catholics. Both the UPC and the DP were involved in these practices in my area as both parties had an interest in making it difficult for me to win……” Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, pages 122 and 123 of the book, Sowing the Mustard seed (Original Edition)

How did Uganda’s 1980 elections leave a scar to our democracy 39 years later?

To be continued in Part II

The writer Denis Nyombi is an Advocate and Presidential Historian.

For comments reach him on 0754592447

denisnyombi@yahoo.com

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