PICTURES: Of Museveni’s savagery, Kagame’s crazy and Uhuru’s civilised election rigging
In Uganda, the 31 years old military dictatorship under Museveni changed the constitution to remove the two five years’ term limit to allow Museveni to rule till death. He appoints all the members and staff of the Electoral Commission (EC) and controls its operations. When Ugandans demanded for the independence of the EC, he instead arrogantly added the word Independent to read IEC. He creates geographical electoral constituencies to suit his personal designs. He institutes measures that determine whom he is to compete with. He frames those that he doesn’t approve of with concocted criminal charges as a way of either keeping them out of the race or bogging down their campaign efforts. He compels public servants to campaign for him or else lose their positions. He blackmails voters by telling them how he as the controller of public resources would not extend developmental programs through the representative of their choice unless their choice is his.
During the election campaign period, he creates a war like situation so as to instill fear in the population. He uses the security forces to torment with violence, curtail the freedom of movement, assembly and association of his opponents before, during and after the campaigns. State inspired election violence leaves many with gravious bodily harm, injury, dead, rampantly arrested, detained and kidnapped. It brands the opposition as enemy Terrorists bent on setting the country on fire. It uncontrollably uses public financial and material resources in furtherance of its election campaigns while at the same time suffocating the opposition’s sources of finance and logistics. Museveni publicly threatens to return to war if the opposition is voted into power before declaring that he won’t hand over power if he loses the elections. Regime cadres and security officers prevail over the EC in the conduct of its operations. During the February 2016 elections, the EC Chairman regretted for having allowed Dr. Besigye on the ballot paper.
On election day, the army, police, Prison Warders and other private militias are deployed on every inch of the country in order to instill fear in the population. Through the UCC, Museveni disables communication by blocking social media and even shutting down some radio stations. By the time the final results are announced his main contenders and some of their supporters are either in detention or on the run being hunted by the security machinery over concocted terrorism charges.
In Rwanda, Kagame overthrew the sitting Hutu President, Pasteur Bizimungu, whom he sent to prison before he took over as President. He has set for himself a seven years’ term of office. To consolidate the suppression of the majority (85%) Hutu, no credible Hutu candidate is supposed to contest for the presidency. Such potential credible Hutu aspirants are either imprisoned (Victoria Ingabire) or exiled (Faustine Twagiramungu) and at worst they are threatened with concocted genocide charges. Even within the Tutsi fraternity, no any other Tutsi is supposed to run against Kagame. Diane Rwigara was knocked out and many others are in exile. Rwandese within and outside Rwanda live in fear of physical harm from the Kagame regime. Campaigns are restricted to two weeks and he wins with 98% of the total vote.
Kenya has maintained a two five years’ presidential term limit. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is comprised of representatives from all stakeholders like the opposition political parties, civil society and religious institutions. No one is restricted from contesting for any elective office by virtue of his or her ethnic, political and social affiliation. Mobility by opposition during campaigns is not restricted. Security forces are not used by the sitting government to harass and curtail the opposition during campaigns. Public servants are not involved in sabotaging and curtailing opposition campaign efforts. The opposition is treated with dignity as fellow Kenyans and not enemies. The campaign period ends without a single incident of state orchestrated violence. Imagine the ruling party accepting to relocate its final rally to Nakuru because the Uhuru Park in the city of Nairobi was to be used by the opposition NASA for its final rally. The Head of ICT at IEBC, Chris Msando was murdered but the work of the IEBC was not hampered. Campaigns ended without a single opposition contestant or supporter being held in detention.
Both the ruling party and the opposition had no militias allied to their respective camps. On the election day, the population freely trotted to the polling stations without fear or restrictions. The opposition alleged that the IEBC computer system had been hacked into and the IEBC accepted to investigate by way of carrying out a manual audit of the results forms submitted from the constituencies. In 2015, the court granted the opposition request for the results at constituency level to be regarded as final and the IEBC has complied with that ruling. The IEBC dismissed on spot two of its Election Officials who attempted to tamper with the exercise. Even when the opposition put its supporters on standby for mass action, the government did not detain the same leaders on flimsy charges of terrorism. The government did not panic by shutting down social media so as to disable mobility. Local and international observers and media outlets were afforded unlimited access to the exercise and they overwhelmingly commended the electoral process as having been free, fair, transparent and credible.
While Kenya has demonstrated that it has moved away the effects of decades of former President Moi’s tyrannical rule, Museveni and Kagame are caught up in the struggle to prove that they are more skilled in savage rigging of elections than their predecessors. The Kenya election has also proven that without being dragged into partisan politics by the sitting government, the security forces can act with impartiality. Moreover, by comparison, the Kenya police is a mentor to its Ugandan counterpart.
Next time the IEBC should move to each county and declare the respective results from there so as to avoid the alleged tampering during the electronic transmission to the national tally centre. If there was any rigging in Kenya, it was done in a civilized way. What if Chris Msando had not been murdered, what else would the opposition have alleged in its dissatisfaction???? However, there is a possibility of a low intensity conflict creeping up in Kenya arising out of this election that may drag in some key regional players.
Viva Kenya; you have done Africa proud and restored hope in black Africa.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
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