Building Elite Consensus in Post-Election Uganda

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Presented at NGO Leader’s Retreat
11th March 2016
Bugolobi Royal Suites Hotel
Kampala
By
Richard Ssewakiryanga
Executive Director and Global Co Chair CSO Partnership for Effective Development

On the 18th February 2016 we started the electoral season and it ends in March 2016. It was a season of high energy, anticipation, name calling, music, dancing politicians and gyrating and drunk supporters, huge rallies, camera effects and at the end of the day, announcement of winners and losers. But, it has also been a period of fear, anxiety and the outpouring of thousands of security forces onto the streets and village paths across Uganda. As we draw to the close of the elections, we have started witnessing contestation of the elections. The Judges and Magistrates across the country are busy listening to all kinds of petitions and petty talk. Sadly, some citizens lost their lives and others sustained injuries that left them disabled. The sight of a journalist cracking his head on the street during a scuffle between police and opposition, another journalist beaten into paralysis – are moments which compel us to take a moments silence – if only to remember all those Ugandans who have fallen because of our collective pursuit for liberal democracy.

Now is the time to reflect deeply and ask the hard questions about elections. If elections are going to turn into moments of violence and intimidation, rather than moments of victory, of the best and of celebration of life, we need to ask if there is an alternate route in this pursuit of liberal democracy.

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