Uganda Should Focus on the Day After Tomorrow

By the time the counting is done, President Yoweri Museveni will probably be home and dry after a contentious poll in which he faced the most serious challenge to his decades’ hold on to power.

Barring a few incidents, voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections on January 14, was largely peaceful. The character of the actual poll was an anti-climax to the hype that justified the deployment of the army and nearly 50,000 special police constables to police the polls.

Largely seen as a generational contest, this year’s election had several undercurrents. Jobless growth, political decadence and, failed promises, are some of the issues that drove a reversal of fortunes for President Museveni in many places.

Over the past 15 or so years, Museveni has placed an accent on infrastructure projects. Investment in grandiose power stations and highways to swell annual growth rates. But with most of the proceeds from such projects repatriated to the contractor’s country of origin, the growth generated is not immediately felt in the pockets of host communities. During his new mandate, Museveni will probably need to strike a balance between long-term strategic objectives and the immediate needs of the population.

In a video clip that went viral two days before polling, the chief government whip and Woman MP for Kiboga district Ruth Nankabirwa is seen imploring voters’ supporters to ensure President Museveni scores 120 percent in the district. “If the cows must also vote to get that result, so be it, “she is heard saying. It could have been a simple figure of speech, used in the heat of the moment. But such language has become all too common and come to symbolise the gradual slide from humility to the impunity that now defines the ruling party.