By Besi Andrew
He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, 'What will I do, because I don't have room to store my crops?' He said, 'This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry."' "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16–21
I feel this parable by our Lord clearly captures the arrogance of many in the opposition who, as always, have taken to the media, with usual woebegone facial antics, to deride government efforts to curb and contain the spread of Covid19.
Their agitations are premised on a desire to (i) Open up the economy in its entirety and (ii) allow for our next electoral cycle to be held in the usual ways.
Appearing on NEXT radio this Saturday past, the once Honorable Member of Parliament representing Women of Mbarara, Ms. Miria Rukoza Koburunga Matembe, invoked God’s name before proceeding to accuse H.E. the President and chairman of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Yoweri Museveni of colluding with the Justice Simon Byabakama led Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to unfairly disadvantage the opposition from winning next year’s national elections!!
Justice Byabakama and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of course, as is their mandate, and in line with mitigating the extent of disturbance wrought by COVID -19 on global best practices of democratic contest, have smartly altered the format of election cycles typically starting with campaigns for flag bearers within parties, to nomination, campaigns and finally to voting in Uganda. The IEC, in proposals submitted nearly 10 days ago, suggests that campaigning should be restricted to use of both digital and traditional media. They also propose that political parties carry out the entirety of their political processes of choosing so called flag bearers using these means. Ugandans as if on cue, have dubbed these elections - “scientific elections!”
Of course, rather than study these proposals, the opposition have taken to the media to cry foul and bang saucepans. They claim that they should be consulted on any variance to the electoral process. On the surface of it, this sounds plausible. However, it does collapse on itself upon close scrutiny. How? The IEC is bound within the ambit of law to hold national elections within the first 30 days of the last 90 days of the current government. Doubtless, like many other territories of the world, Uganda is currently under a partial lockdown. Time is no ally. Ofcourse, as this is the first time Uganda will conduct a purely 'e-campaign', there are bound to be many challenges. Of the political parties, preparation and goodwill are required. Of the IEC, commitment to be fair to all is in addition to good preparation required for these elections to be successful.
Rather than focus on “not being consulted’ and being apologetic for what, as is the case, dismal organisation of their affairs - evidenced by endless bickering within Inter party organisation dialogue(IPOD) - opposition political parties MUST and SHOULD begin to lay strategies to transition to the modern way of elections - ‘new normal’!! Listening to political opposition apologists sadly is akin to the rich man who vowed to “pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods” in the vein belief that he was, as Shakepeare put it “the end all and be all”
Now to ‘Opening up” the economy in its entirety - including schools! Jean- Baptiste Alphonse was the author of a very chilling aphorism - Plus la change plus c’este la meme chose - which in a strict sense translates as “the more the change, the more its the same”! More clearly as - "the more something changes, the more it stays the same!"
On 23rd June 2020, just 1 day after president Museveni’s 16th address on Covid19 to Ugandans, Africa had recorded 315,380 COVID19 cases with 8,339 deaths. Uganda’s tally of this high figure - 774 cases. Fortunately, and some believe by the grace of God, the territory of Uganda has recorded Zero death. On this same 23rd June, news streamed in from South Africa that “100 pupils at an Eastern Cape high school have contracted the coronavirus” and that the “provincial Health Department is scrambling to contain the outbreak at the Mount Frere school”. South Africa broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported that “Since schooling resumed earlier this month, almost 200 schools have had to be shut down again after infections were detected.”
Give me Museveni any day!