Uganda: President Museveni Needs to Talk Peace and Reconciliation

21 January 2021

As Ugandans, we have invested time and effort to achieve the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

The effort to hold periodic elections for president, members of parliament and other leaders is both constitutional and political. It is constitutional because the 1995 Constitution spells out the tenure of a president and the MPs also guarantees Ugandans the right to choose their leaders.

However, this right to choose and also declare oneself as a presidential contestant has become problematic. The incumbent has made it difficult for anyone to express interest in the presidential seat.

If those interested are not belittled, they are harassed, arrested and compromised. The brave ones who maneuver the hurdles endure the hardest conditions. Presidential elections have never been this divisive and violent.

In this particular election campaign, more than 60 persons were shot dead when they protested the arrest of former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu in Luuka district.

There are several of his campaign agents who remain unaccounted for, while others are languishing in ungazetted detention centers. Many of them have been tortured by security forces, for supporting Kyagulanyi.

Vote rigging, human rights abuse, state inspired violence are some of the things that drove President Museveni to the bushes to launch his guerilla outfit, National Resistance Army (NRA).

The 2021 presidential elections have left the country more divided on religious, tribal and economic lines. Hours after President Museveni was declared the winner of the 2021 presidential elections, by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Justice Simon Byabakama, the president took on a threatening tone.

The president as the fountain honour ought to sound reconciliatory and appear to be healing the frayed citizens' nerves. The President ought not take offence for being rejected by some voters.

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