“a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them. ‘She started drinking in high school because of peer pressure’” (Merriam-Webster – Definition: Peer Pressure)
It is special, that an election that haven’t been held in 17 years. That hasn’t been held since 2001. This election is held in such contempt of the voters. Where there are ghost districts, where the opposition and independent parties are not involved or even able to field candidates. The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) are now allowed to participate or monitor the events. You just know the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Electoral Commission are not that professional considering these local elections.
Why I say that? Well, the candidates are placed on the polling stations in the villages. Where the candidates are staying one by one. Where people are lining themselves up and where the voter are going behind the candidate they prefer. However, with this sort of election, there are no secret what you vote for and who you pass as a better local councilor or a LC1.
No matter who they vote for, the whole village or neighborhood would know. If you voted NRM, Independent or the looney-bin who should never run in the first place. These elections haven’t been much about the candidates, more the lack of resources, the postponement that has lasted for close to two decades.
The Electoral Commission should have especially after the last postponement, been able to find the ghost-villages and the ghost-voters, made sure the local polling agents could verify the voters and the voter-rolls. Even as the voters even wasn’t there or they just counted heads. In some districts even talks of ferrying voters to the polling stations.
There where 60,800 villages to hold elections in and field candidates, and in that sense, the NRM would conquer most. Precisely, because they have the advantage, the misuse of government funds and the massive spending from the ruling regime. They have spent billions on these elections to make way for these Local Councilors. In over 600 villages there was no elections, in some regions the voters defied the authorities as they had voters slips for the election made in 2017 and not gotten new for 2018. There we’re people sent away, even with National ID Cards. So the EC have a long walk to justice and to secure these sorts of polls.
All of what happen today can be seen as peer pressure, village wise, because nothing was hidden. If they just had a tick or ink on their finger for voting. It would be fine, because no one could talk or discuss what you really voted for. It could be anyone, the looney-bin or the actual good councilor of the village. However, when everyone walks behind a person and says this is the man/woman I want. Than, your telling the whole village and putting yourself on display.
This was a mockery of an election, if this would be picking the school-yard captain or even the captain of the local football team; it would have been fine and dandy, but this was seriously contested elections, where the Electoral Commission decided who could stand in the village.
Therefore, the EC and the NRM should have gotten the buckets out and the ballots, made it a secret vote for the people. Especially when the Councilor will be the local representative for God knows who long. Because it is not like these elections been steady, that is because they really doesn’t matter that much. That is why the EC haven’t spent funds on slips, ballots or voting material in general for these election.
That is why the art of Peer Pressure was used. It isn’t a soft or silky way of electing people. It is schoolyard or even teenage way of doing it. That an election made by 32 year old regime done as pupil, says how far from progress there is. Well, well, the NRM haven’t really cared since they moved from the Movement System to the Multi-Party Democratic Elections. They still want to act as the kings and the One-Party rules all. Therefore, the reality on the ground becomes a lot like that.
This election was mocking the intelligence of the people, but also name of an “election”. When your standing in line behind the one you choose. You just know that it will be talk if you go to the other one next time you meet or greet. The neighbor will wonder: “Why did you go behind Abe and not vote for Ben?”.
You just know that will happen, why did you go independent and not voted NRM? Do you want this village ill?
The Art of Peer Pressure is what this was. Nothing else. Nothing different. Nothing brilliant, nothing genius. Just child-games done the public, hoping it sticks. Peace.