“This game is rigged, man. We like the little bitches on a chessboard” – Preston “Bodie” Brodaus (S4:E13 – ‘Final Grades’, 2006).
The Soroti East By-Elections on the 28th July 2022 was a shambolic affair. The authorities, the Electoral Commission and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) didn’t even conceal their actions and intentions. The mass-arrests, intimidation and use of force was the reason for the “victory” for the NRM Flag-Bearer Herbert Edmund Ariko. He was in the evening of the 28th July announced as the victor with a “small” margin, but everyone who follows knows the drill.
The NRM with the usage of the state machinery came with pre-ticked ballots. The NRM Electoral Commission Chairman Dr. Tanga Odoi was an active part of the rigging in Soroti. Other that participated was the newly “elected” MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah. He was “elected” in the same manner in his constituency. Now, Ariko follows suit and they shouldn’t celebrate this. Because it is a mess and a fraudulent affair.
The NRM will take this a celebration and speak of their popularity. However, everyone with some working marbles knows the gist. The mass-arrests of opposition leaders and the deployment of opposition polling agents who was arrested to sign of declaration forms from the polling stations. So, the whole affair was shady and the “victory” can be seen as shallow.
The MP for Soroti East By-Election is now rigged into the 11th Parliament. The NRM doesn’t believe in their pledges, promises or campaign. Since they needs to use force, intimidation and trick the polls to get ahead. Their candidate is so bad and lacking influence that ghosts, goats and ferried voters voted for him. The pre-ticked ballots are proof of that and the EC validated it all.
This is was a deliberate act. The mass-arrests just proves it all. The authorities even arrested the main opposition candidate from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Moses Attan Okia who was detained after voting himself. It just shows the process and how the state was at work. The same with any sort of political leader in the FDC and also went after elected leadership from the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). Therefore, the authorities stoke at everyone. They even raided a home of one MP and went after the tires of another one. It was nothing they were not willing to do.
The Soroti East By-Election is just a proof that the NRM doesn’t believe in their own candidates anymore. They need to use force and fake themselves into power. If the NRM didn’t have the power and the authorities behind them. This wouldn’t have happened. They are not having elections, but a selection for their own will. Just proving a point and taking the people for fools.
Hon. Ariko was elected by ghosts and ferried voters. His not voted by the Soroti East constituents. He didn’t have the confidence or the bravery to allow their will to happen. That’s why he accepted the pre-ticked ballots and the use of bravado from the authorities to silence the opposition on the election day. This is why he should question himself, but like many in the NRM. He is just giddy for the cash, perks and be anointed into Parliament.
Soroti East By-Election is just another of these where the state doesn’t spare anything to win. Even if the “victory” is only because of the usage of all parts of the government structure. The NRM would never have been able to do this. If they weren’t in government and didn’t have the final say in everything that matters. If the NRM was in opposition and felt the blunt force. They would have cried havoc.
We know that, because that is how the NRM was incepted in the 1980s election. Which the President has cried out loud about ever since. He is now ushering in similar elections and even worse ones. Where the state is just creating pyrrhic victories, because everyone knows the gist.
The game is rigged and Bodie was right. Peace.