I’m one of those people who believe in democracy and freedom for everyone to do whatever they want to as it long as legal. But there is something that got my mind twisted during the inaugural 2016 presidential debate that took place at Serena Hotel last Friday.
Ugandans, I must say have come from far with regards to restoring peace, rule of law, democracy, economic growth and providing social amenities. And by far I mean since when the country attained independence from the British in 1962.
I mean, look at the freedom we have, you can post something foul about the president on social media and get away with it easily, shout at a policeman even when you are in the wrong and he won’t have you arrested – not that am saying it’s ok to do, all am saying is we now have freedom.
In fact most people who come from abroad will in a state of confession tell you how Uganda is such a free country with friendly people and laws. You can put up a shop in a road reserve and its “ok” until KCCA realizes that they have not done their usual supervisory roles.
We have copied several ideologies from different parts of the world including the land of the free to suite our needs. From Fashion, music to art, we are living a life enriched by lifestyles imported from different parts of the world. Sometime it is good, sometimes it has been bad.
The recent addition of imported ideologies is the recent adoption of the presidential debate which pitied eight, until one decided to stay, presidential candidates against each other in an attempt to explain their political agenda to the nation.
When I look at the presidential debate in the USA, they really take time to organize these debates right from the party level through to the final presidential debates that bring together candidates from different political parties and backgrounds.
The next US presidential election will happen in the last quarter of 2016 but they have been carrying out debates right from 2015. The subjects debated upon are quite interesting and what cover the country is underperforming and need improving.
Issues of economic security and foreign policy are being discussed but not just “promises” our Ugandan candidates seem to have put forward. Our presidential candidates and biggest section of elite class seemed to advocate for the debate without really understanding it.
Am not saying the debate was a bad idea. I was actually enthusiastic about it and followed to the end. I must say the debate was a bit enlightening – there were some candidates that I didn’t know were good and had potential; some of course were quiet comical.
But as I closely listened to the candidate’s answers to the questions they were being asked, I felt like most of them didn’t seem to understand what it meant to be in a presidential debate, some I think did not seem to know why they stood for the presidency.
They all seemed to say I will do this, that one did not do this and I am better than them and am like really!! Playing the blame game without, in the given time, elaborating how they end to achieve and deliver their promises. It is hard to trust such politicians.
My vote is supposed to change this nation, get me the leader who will make sure I have better roads, hospitals, peace, security but all I could hear from the candidates was” if you elect me.. I would do this” not an actual debate, discussion of views.
I believe the organizers were looking for electoral transparency, I know we need to start from some point, but we need to plan this better if we are looking further democracy and electoral transparency in Uganda.[related_posts]
This debate is a learning point for future engagements like these after all Rome was not built in one day. But I felt there was a lot of copying of an ideology that has worked elsewhere in world thinking it will work in Uganda.
At some point I felt a bit nostalgic; like I was back in primary or secondary school listening to my colleagues campaigning – telling us to vote for them and they dance parties every day, have movies on weekends, change the meals or change the school uniform.
I mean it takes processes for people to change such key political aspects in a democratically young nation like Uganda but can copying every development including political ideologies serve Uganda right?