In President Museveni’s convoluted mind, elections are never won but stolen
By Moses Kamya Ssentamu
On April 28, a chest-thumping Museveni wrote a 1608 word “missive” to Ugandans in which he bragged about the twin victories that week in by-elections for Woman MP in Hoima and Kaabong Districts.
In Hoima, Harriet Busingye the NRM candidate had apparently won with 33,301 to the 28,769 polled by the FDC’s Asanasi Nyakato who had started out as the underdog. It was a no contest of sorts in Kaabong where the FDC candidate withdrew from the race under circumstances that have only been clarified by Museveni’s letter in which he admits to buying her out of the race.
Yet in spite of his supposed “victory,” in Hoima, which represented a healthy 53 percent of the vote, Museveni is not happy. He actually casts doubt on the validity of the results that saw FDC garner such strong support in what was a previously “yellow” constituency.
By his own pen, Museveni admits that his party holds the majority in local structures – Six LC-3 Chairpersons in Kaabong and 4 out of 7 in Hoima. NRM also has 27 LC5 councilors in Kaabong and 35 out of 47 in Hoima. “The NRM won many seats, the internal rivalries of the NRM leaders, sometimes the poor organization of the NRM and the cheating and lying by the Opposition, notwithstanding,” Museveni claims.
With such political infrastructure on the ground, Museveni can be forgiven for not understanding why and how the tide could have turned against him in Hoima.
In his mind, he cannot see how people for whom “he has brought the first tarmac roads” would fall for ‘lies of the Opposition.” But the opposition has been telling the masses about the corruption of Museveni’s regime for years. Museveni cannot understand why a peasant that has been displaced from his land – so that somebody connected to the regime can claim compensation for the right of way for those roads – should not be thankful.
He can’t connect the dots to see how ordinary people see such “development” as primarily enriching NRM fat cats, at the expense of ordinary, oppressed and impoverished people.
“With the massive development and transformation taking place in the country, it is pathetic to see these opposition members zooming around the country at break-neck speeds on our brand new tarmac roads built by the NRM from zero, while saying that NRM has done nothing!, fulminated Museveni.
It is so shameful and pathetic but it is good for the NRM,” he wrote. The explanation for what is almost total amnesia on the president’s part can only be explained by two things.
He has been telling lies for so long that he often gets lost in his own world of make-believe. Equally, he has stolen elections for so long that he does not believe anybody can win an election by fair means. That is why to Museveni the opposition only wins where it has out-rigged him.
That is his conviction regardless of how glaring the facts might be. For instance in Hoima, there is graphic evidence of the state machinery being thrown against Asanansi Nyakato, who was backed by a united opposition force.
For instance at Kabaire Polling Station in Bulindi Parish in Kyabigambire sub-county, Nakawa MP Michael Kabaziguruka and retired Lt. Gen. Mugisha Muntu were able to intercept motor vehicle registration UBB 318 E, a Toyota Harrier which was distributing ballots that were pre-ticked in the NRM candidate’s favor.
In the ensuing scuffle, Kabaziguruka recovered 51 ballot papers, fifty of which were already pre-ticked for Busingye. Although there were security officers that had been deployed to keep law and order at the polling station, they showed no interest in the scuffle.
Instead a UPDF vehicle, registration H4DT1647 arrived, one of the officers in it got out, and drove away the guilty Toyota Harrier whose previous occupants had fled. The recovered ballots were handed over to an official of the Electoral Commission. In a strange turn of event, the complainant is now the accused.
The EC says Mugisha Muntu and Kabaziguruka will have to explain how they got the ballots since they did not hand over any suspect to the police!
Museveni cites the high rate at which the housing sector has grown in Hoima, achievements which he says the population appreciates. What he deliberately ignores is that these are the proceeds from the dispossession of the poor by the rich since Hoima became an oil region.
While the ruler sees the apparent development as something everybody should be grateful for, to the average rural resident those properties are only a reminder of the pain and destitution that has been visited on them since the discovery of oil disrupted their peaceful rural existence.
Despite the scenes in which government functionaries meted violence on opposition cadres on polling day, Museveni attributes the violence to the victims. On Kaabong Museveni writes: “the opposition did not even have a candidate Nakoka (daughter-akoka in Ateso) Adiaka Judith Nalibe, who was supposed to be the Opposition candidate, is actually a member of the NRM but who was angry that the officials concerned had not compensated the vehicle of her father.
“Even when she withdrew, the Electoral Commission refused to announce the NRM elected unopposed. Last minute, we had to continue with the theater of having an election when the other candidate had withdrawn. The NRM candidate got 22,532 votes which is 93% of the votes cast, while the non-existent opposition got 1,692 votes, which was 6.9%.”
That statement is loaded with innuendo. First of all it confirms the FDC assertions that their candidate was bought out of the race, by settling her grievances.
The other is the growing support for the opposition in the Karamoja sub-region where grabbing of resources, especially mineral rich land by Museveni and his henchmen is rife. This was not the first that Adiak Judith was running on the FDC flag.
During the 2016 elections, she barely managed 600 votes. On September 26, despite being officially out of the race and not campaigning, she still garnered 1692 votes. What could have been behind her growing tally in a region that was almost exclusively NRM just three years ago?
The writing is on the wall for Museveni but he is really not bothered because his elections are won by violence and outright theft.