From Ireland to Uganda
Ireland’s 2016 general election has clouded my news feed, naturally. As a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, the results affect the social and economic situation of my loved ones. So far I am unable to ‘spot’ the winning coalition through a mixture of uncertainty and hope that the one blatantly staring us in the face doesn’t come to fruition. I’m disquieted by the possibility of a Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil coalition.
One week and a day before our own general election, Yoweri Museveni was once again elected President of Uganda. Although he is credited with overseeing some political and economic stability, his fifth re-election proves once more that he is too long in his position of power. Some of the voting was reported to be unfairly rolled out. Many balloting papers did not reach certain areas deemed to be less than ‘Museveni friendly’ until late afternoon. According to The Economist, it was “It is a tactic to disenfranchise people in the opposition’s urban strongholds.”
As this 30-year story trundles on (Museveni has been in power since 1986) the world occupies itself with more pressing matters such as the Oscars and Kim Kardashian. Regardless there is still a weight on my shoulders. Why is it that those that are in need of a voice get such a small portion of the exposure?
Under the Ugandan National Development Plan women are judged to be under-represented in many political and economic forums. “Uganda’s development progress, however, continues to be constrained by gender inequalities and social vulnerabilities.” While this is true there is little being done to change this at a governmental level. NGOs, human rights organisations, and brave local women continue the battle on the ground. We try and sleep soundly at night by telling ourselves we’ve done our part by reading the article.
Leading up to the election 7 children where reportedly sacrificed in blood rituals associated with wealth and power. This did reach the world’s newspapers today however these killings began in October of last year. Children are the most vulnerable group, entirely unable to speak for themselves, and rather than give them a voice, their deaths are muffled in a sea of seemingly irrelevant garble. The world has failed those young souls.
This is not a comprehensive view of the Ugandan election story, it is merely small pieces of a puzzle I’ve picked up but have been unable to complete. It’s piqued my interest as some of the stories ran parallel to our own election. I am as equally guilty of participation in the irrelevant garble; it keeps the voices at bay.
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FIDH 2012 Report On Women’s rights in Uganda: https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/uganda582afinal.pdf
Uganda’s National Development Plan: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/National_Development_Plan_2010_11-2014_15.pdf