“2016 may be worst elections in our history” – Written by Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju
On Sunday afternoon, a police patrol pickup truck full of officers drove to the residence of Kampala Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago to deliver some important information.This information was a letter from the Electoral Commission officially notifying Lukwago of the postponement of Kampala mayoral nominations earlier set for Monday November 16 and Tuesday November 17.Lukwago, being a smart lawyer that he is, asked the officer in charge of Old Kampala police station, Emmanuel Ochamringa, why it was him (police) and not an EC official serving him this letter.Ochamringa instead pleaded with the lord mayor to sign a delivery note so he could fulfill a command given to him by his superior. When Lukwago refused to sign, Ochamringa demanded that he surrenders the letter. I will spare you the rest of the story and go to the gist of today’s column, which is the credibility of the 2016 general elections.
I have argued in an earlier column that Gen Kale Kayihura has taken over the electoral process. There cannot be a better illustration than the one above. Not only was a letter calling off nominations for Kampala mayorship authored and delivered on a Sunday, but it was being transported by a police patrol pickup truck full of policemen.
Probably this letter was authored at the police headquarters or Kayihura simply summoned Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu from his weekend. Total connivance! Obviously this letter was supposed to be used as a tool the following day to stop Lukwago from proceeding to the Electoral Commission offices for nomination. And this is the game the Electoral Commission of Prof Kiggundu has been playing throughout.
The letter to Lukwago was signed by Kampala’s returning officer Charles Ntege, who quoted another letter signed by EC secretary Sam Rwakoojo. So, it is Rwakoojo who writes to Ntege and Ntege writes to Lukwago. Although delivered on Sunday (November 15), Rwakoojo’s letter was dated November 12 while that of Ntege was dated November 13. And these games started with Amama Mbabazi. When Mbabazi wanted to mobilize support for his impending candidature, Kayihura ordered him to seek clearance from NRM. That was partly before he chose to stand as an independent.
In fact Kayihura organized a meeting attended by NRM electoral commission chairman Tanga Odoi and Attorney General Fred Ruhindi in which they agreed to block Mbabazi until he was cleared by NRM. When Mbabazi chose to go independent, Kayihura then connived with the Electoral Commission to stop him. Prof Kiggundu had at first cleared Mbabazi but made a U-turn and stopped him.The story of the FDC Rukungiri trip that was terminated at Kanyaryeru is another example. I am sure you still remember how police nearly killed us before it undressed our party secretary for environment. I have quoted all these examples to emphasize a point Col Dr Kizza Besigye has been making. We are not involved in an election. We are, in fact, in a struggle to rescue the state.
If anyone was in doubt, Prof Kiggundu has assured you. The professors at Makerere University played a pivotal role in the struggle for independence and almost dominated the post-independence politics. With the likes of Kiggundu in place, I think I won’t encourage my children to study a third degree. That professor, with a straight face, announced that he didn’t have regulations to guide mayoral nominations just last week. He is the same man that organized the same nominations and elections in 2011. He now could not organize them and was waiting for guidance from Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze!
And a few days later, the same Kiggundu is announcing that nominations can go ahead because he has held a consultative meeting with Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and Attorney General Ruhindi. And guess who else was in the meeting? It is singer and mayoral aspirant Dan Kazibwe, aka Ragga Dee, and obviously Jennifer Musisi.
With due respect to Ragga Dee, I think a consultative meeting between a professor and him to discuss regulations can only explain how low we have sunk as a country.
And that is why at our rallies as FDC, we are preaching three points: rescue the state, transform the country and then move to equitable development.
But most importantly, almost all of us involved in the electoral exercise are left with no option but to organize teams that will force Kiggundu to announce us winners.
I have a feeling that if Kayihura doesn’t like you; you may not be announced winner.
Written by Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju
The author is Kyadondo East MP.