18TH February is the day and I can’t wait. You see this is the first election I will be eligible to participate in. On the other hand there are many ignorant people that continue to infuriate me because of the oblivion that they are trying to create around themselves by absconding from voting. Just a few months ago I was bemused by the seemingly useless #TOPOWA civic education adverts that were starting to clatter the media encouraging people to go and exercise their constitutional right to elect their leaders. I always thought these were uncalled for in the main stream media and the civic education that was really needed was in the rural areas- those without newspapers or televisions. This was not until I started to encounter friends telling me how they were going to remain home on the 18th. Each holds his own reasons ranging from lack of confidence in the electoral commission and failure of any of the eight presidential candidates to convince him.
Hiding inside a political vacuum and pretending to be politically inert is the worst mistake one can make for his country. It is clearly made to me each and every other day that almost everything we desire in our country depends on the quality of services provided by the state and the state is controlled by leaders who are voted into office by ordinary citizens. Whether it is favorable conditions to start and operate businesses or quality healthcare and education, taxation and availability of jobs, the government of the day has a hand in each of these.
It bothers me how the illiterate people come out in droves to vote their leaders and the elite who should be the liberators remain home and spend the day like any other public holiday. It is not surprising that we continue to vote into power wrong leaders who have mastered the art of manipulative politics by playing on the minds of the illiterate most times with cheap handouts like sugar and t-shirts.
Five years from now those in my age group will be fresh graduates searching for jobs. But few realize that the availability of jobs then depends on the leaders we choose right now. I for one will graduate from law school in January 2020. When you consider the additional 9 months of LDC, it’s pretty obvious that I’ll be as ready and as qualified as I can be to take up my first case. This is the part of each candidate’s campaign that I am interested in. It scares me each day as I retire to bed after spending long hours learning the law that in 2020 the rude reality may be that I will probably pace the streets of Kampala for months even years on end looking for a law firm or organisation to hire me. Yet there are those who are finishing school in the next 3 years and choose to lie to themselves that politics is outside their realm. Which country do you live in? Mbabazi promises 5million jobs in five years, Besigye is promising teachers a starting salary of 650,000 shillings, Elton Joseph Mabirizi is promising to export us while Prof. Baryamureeba wants to create a million jobs through Business Process Outsourcing alone. Whether each of these promises is tenable is a debate for another day. Most importantly, these are issues that influence whom you will cast your vote for.
It does not matter whether the elections are rigged and I really don’t care whom you vote; that is your decision. At the end of the day make sure you get out of your house and vote like every responsible Uganda will do. Somebody in my constitutional law class yesterday argued that there are some numbers that are difficult to alter. Overwhelming popular support for one candidate will fill those who are planning to rig the election with shame sent from above. Besides, do not create excuses that you will regret just in case the results go to court and there’s need to prove ‘substantial’ rigging.
Be cool like me and go and vote. Be even cooler and vote for change. I say again. LETS ALL VOTE!