On February 18th, 2011 Ugandans will go to vote for their next president and members of parliament. At other times, Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, could’ve had other options. But this time he can only loose the presidential elections planned on that day. Elections either rigged or not, that will be the only acceptable outcome for him.
Considered the current wind of change sweeping across and above the African continent, after twenty five years into power, Museveni doesn’t have any logical argument to justify why he would remain ruling Uganda. This would be unthinkable while Africans everywhere are strongly and vigorously aspiring heartedly to put an end to undemocratic regimes in places where they still prevail.
The Ugandan president can claim having brought stability and economic development to his people. This could be an opinion not shared by those he victimised inside his country under NRM rule. It could however be the perspective which justified support from his West sponsors or is predominant among those who benefited from his regime. Stability and development have been a constant among African dictators and their Western supporters to oppose and oppress any dissent voices demanding democracy and an end to all sorts of injustices Africans suffer in the hand of their leaders.
The West has far too long sided with dictators and undemocratic regimes on the African continent. Western countries have been too calculating and diplomatic when it comes to human rights abuses, systematic oppression or discrimination of populations, or corruption, because of where they have invested sometimes excessively without objective analysis of the sustainability of their investment. They become very weary when symptoms show that they could loose everything. It’s time now for them to support and strengthen the real assets in any investment venture: the people.
There are situations in any context, be it science, politics, sports, history or else where outcomes from an occurrence are known well in advance. Not because of the strong premises under which such event takes place but because only miracles which are beyond human control could change the inevitable. For Ugandans, Election Day will be like a formality to officially end the rule of a dictator who has done so much wrong to many of his people, but also caused mayhem in the whole Great Lakes of Africa.
As they say, ‘power corrupts’. If this was not the case, nobody would not understand why leaders, especially African, would want to stay in power for fifteen, twenty or more years. As far back as one can look in African recent history, particularly from the period leading to the independence of the continent, nearly every leader who sought to rule his people failed lamentably. Few and rare examples such as Patrice Lumumba, Nkwame Nkrumah and Thomas Sankara genuinely lived up to the aspirations of their people.
If within eight to ten years maximum, a leader could not positively transform the political, economic and social structures of his country and help with the overall well being of his people, there is no guarantee at all that adding more time to his rule will make any further difference. After such time in ruling his country, if a leader is not already a dictator, he can only become one because of the earlier premise of corruptibility character of power. There must be strict monitoring mechanisms between accountability of leadership and term of presidency.
As the situation looks for Uganda, electoral formalities will take place on February 18th. We know who will win on that day: the Ugandan people. They will claim back what they have been robbed from for so many years by NRM dictatorship: the right to have a say over who can lead them. The incumbent president, Joweri Museveni, since he is expected to loose the elections whatever he could do to win them, let’s wish him well when the people will have declared who should lead them from then on. What will be witnessed on the day will not in fact be considered as an election as such since no dictatorship has normally changed through an election. We will see a revolution unfolding. May it be relatively as peaceful as those recently experienced in Tunisia and Egypt?