Ugandans decree persistence as calls for poll reforms hang in uncertainty

Published By UNNGOF |  April 2, 2015

Professor Albert Bandura once said that, in order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life. This reflects the psyche with which Ugandans across the country are engaging with the Free and Fair Election Campaign processes. The citizens are more unswerving now than ever before. The resolute can be equaled the one exhibited during the independence struggle.

While there is undoubted national consensus on the need for reforms in the electoral management system as proposed in the Citizens’ Compact, it is evident that the degree of responsiveness from the relevant government institutions still remains second-rated. There seems to be an increased wobbling amongst the citizenry in the official processes leading up to the reforms, citizens across the country have now vowed relentlessness.

In response to calls for NGO’s assistance in advancement of the compact, Mr. Busingye Joab a local leader in Masindi appealed to the participants at the Bunyoro feedback session to advance the Citizens Compact of Free and Fair Elections.

“We should stop calling NGOs to do work that we ought to do ourselves, let us go out to the villages, funerals, churches and mosques to preach the gospel of Free and Fair elections, this is possible and it can be done,” he said amidst cheers of agreement and consensus.

These regional feedback sessions are organised by the Uganda national NGO forum in fulfilment of the pledge towards popularizing and clasping support for the Citizens’ Compact. The meetings attended by citizens from all walks of life made resounding commitments towards advancing the citizens compact and garnered support to the electoral reform process.

In Kigezi, when the Kabale RDC denied permission for the meeting, citizens rose to reclaim their legislative power from parliament if the necessary reforms are not passed. This pronouncement came after a historic realization that Members of Parliament have in many occasions accepted bribes to relent on issues that are central to the citizen’s future and wellbeing. Bishop Zac Niringiye, as a Citizen Manifesto Ambassador implored the participants to forgive and shun leaders who are determined to derail the country’s progress. He emphasized the need for the citizens to reclaim their power and fight for the dignity of every Ugandan.

More so, while Rwenzori region has occasionally been pronounced to be strongholds of the NRM political party, the citizens were more concerned about building the future of the country than defending their political outfits. The participants at the Rwenzori Session indicted the NRM caucus for ending their annual retreat with no mention of electoral reforms.

“The NRM members were in a retreat last week, if they really took our voices seriously, they would have discussed the electoral reforms, this is evidence that they will not respond to our demands, let’s wait for  them when they come for campaigns,”a visibly exasperated district councilor recounted.

The residents vowed not to vote members of parliament who will not support the Citizens’ Compact which is a representation of the citizens’ views and aspiration gathered through a highly consultative nationwide process.

In Ankole and Buganda Regions, hundreds of participants swore to advance the issues contained in the compact in their respective spheres of influence, including but not limited to; churches, mosques, social gatherings and district council meetings. The participants entreated that the Compact be translated in the major local languages to ease the process of dissemination of the message.