How valuable is your vote?

Published By UNNGOF |  May 6, 2015

As the country prepares for the 2016 General Elections with both promise and anxiety, we need to pay attention to the different manifestations of electoral corruption, with a bias towards vote-buying, vote-selling, bribery and fake procurements.

The month of March ushers in the Easter Season which presents a great opportunity for citizens to start engaging with their leaders on this important subject.

As part of the Black Monday Movement, we launched the – Anti-Vote Buying/Selling Campaign where we call upon all citizens to reject all the forms of electoral theft and manipulation, while urging leaders, both incumbent and aspiring to commit not to buy votes come 2016. We urge all citizens not to sell their votes.

From the Inter denominational Prayers held at HURINET U, religious leaders from all faiths agreed that all faiths teach that corruption is evil and should be rejected by every individual.

It takes character, charisma, confidence and courage to say not to vote buying and selling. Imam Kasozi affirmed that No money should buy the conscience of Ugandans therefore every citizen should pray for confidence to discern voter bribery.

“Leaders who buy votes only show how weak and incapable they are,” said Imam Idd Kasozi.

To this Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga, Executive Director UNNGOF, echoed that voters who sell their votes make themselves cheap.

“No Ugandan voter should ever downgrade themselves to the value of a bar of soap, sachet of cheap vodka, sachet of salt or a kilo of sugar at that,” added Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga. He added that leaders need to prove their capability to bring development other than sell their credibility.

As Hon. Jack Wamanga Wamai said, every leader needs to imagine the infrastructure voter bribery money can build and therefore leaders should not buy votes. However, Hon. Dritto blamed NGOs for fueling the citizens’ expectations for ‘handouts’ by offering transport refund.

Ms. Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director ACCU criticized Members of Parliament for being perpetrators of poor image of NGOs in the public despite the work organisations do towards advocacy for development and better service delivery in Uganda.

“MPs should be sorry to blame NGOs for giving handouts yet they dodge CSO meetings, which address the country’s development, on the grounds that there is no transport refund. Our leaders should offer better to us the citizens,” said Ms Cissy Kagaba.

Trending on social media under the hashtag #NoVoteBuying2016, many netizens recounted that with 67% of Ugandans vulnerable to poverty, voter bribery and vote selling is a chronic moral decadence in Uganda that will be hard to cure. Majority of rural natives look forward to the elections to make an extra buck and put food on the table.

But is a sachet of salt from an election campaign period worth 5 years of increasing taxes with dwindling quality of services and dilapidated infrastructure?

The time to say NO to voter bribery is now! The dangers of huge amounts of unclear campaign money are looming large on Uganda’s political horizon and something needs to be done. Now! You all recall the unexplainable inflation in 2011.  We should all remember that your vote is not cheap and it is not for sell!