Published By UNNGOF |  January 21, 2016

In a bid to close the knowledge gap between the electoral process and governance in Uganda, Centre for Basic Research is conducting a book-length study of the 2016 Election, which examines the varied dynamics of the elections placed against the backdrop of the 30-year dominance of the political scene by the National Resistance Movement (NRM).  CBR decided to host a series of debates built around the different chapters and designed to stimulate on-going discussion around the process, rather than simply carry out a post-mortem assessment.

The first debate took place on Friday 11th December 2015 at Centre for Basic Research, with invited participants ranging from Academia, Civil Society, political parties, central and local Government, cultural institutions, the youth, Media, Development partners as well as the authors. The chapters discussed include: “Prisoners’ Right to Vote in Uganda in the light of the drafting history of the Constitution and the Prisons Act,” by Jamil Ddamulira; “Representations of Electoral Violence in Ugandan Literature,” by Danson Sylvester Kahyana; “Enter the Dragon?  The Contested Candidacy of John Patrick Amama Mbabazi,” authored by J. Oloka-Onyango, and “Trying to Give What is Hard to Trace:  Political Party Primaries and the 2016 Uganda Elections,” by David Mpiima.

Making comment on the chapters, Prof. John-Jean Barya noted that what may seem like a rather esoteric and obscure issue is in fact of fundamental importance to the debate on the Right to Vote.  Barya pointed out that there were two types of prisoners under the law; there were suspects being held in custody pending trial, and then there were the convicts who had already been tried, convicted and sentenced by the courts of law.  The majority of Ugandans in prisons were suspects and not convicts which meant that looking at their right to vote was in fact a very important issue because it further relates to broader questions of participation and democracy.

Lamenting the nature of Uganda’s Politics, Prof. Ndebesa Mwambutsya described our politics as having been vulgarized, bastardized and individualized, ultimately killing democracy. He called on all the players to guard against practices that marr democracy.

Find more on on the 2016 Elections Book Project here.

Story by Michael Aboneka