Uganda: Bloggers Apprehensive as Voters Go to Polls

This post is part of our special coverage Uganda: Walk to Work Protests.

Ugandans go to the polls on Friday 18 February, 2011 for the country's second round of multiparty elections since current president Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986. The mood among both Ugandans on Twitter and the blogosphere is apprehensive.

Ugandans line up to cast their votes for President and members of parliament. Lira, Uganda. Photo by Hudson Apunyo copyright © Demotix (18/02/2011).

Ugandans line up to cast their votes for President and members of parliament. Lira, Uganda. Photo by Hudson Apunyo copyright © Demotix (18/02/2011).

At Mad and Crazy, Iwaya wonders:

What will happen when Uganda's Electoral Commission led by Dr. Badru Kiggundu, on Sunday 20th February, announces the winner of the Presidential elections as Mr. Yoweri K. Museveni? (Do I hear a scoff about that? Do you actually believe that IPC's Dr. Kizza Besigye might win the contest? He might, but I cannot fathom Dr. Kiggundu announcing anyone other than Mr. Museveni as the winner. It is just beyond the realm of possibility, even science fiction.) But we all have a sneaking suspicion that if this was a free and fair election, conducted strictly according to the rules, Dr. Besigye might have had a fighting chance in it. It is this suspicion that makes many a Ugandan wonder, what next after Friday, February 18, 2011?

While Rosebell Kagumire is fairly certain nothing will change:

I have seen enough with lack of institutions in my country, a place where you have to bribe someone at every stage to get things done. President Museveni has successfully presided over the largest government and his ministers seek to loot the country any chance they get. He largely gives Ugandans what they want in form of districts, expanding his administrative positions to take care of people's tribal sentiments but he will not give them one thing, a democratic Uganda.

Angela Kintu believes that Ugandan political rhetoric and campaigning are to blame for Museveni's 25 years in office:

Tough questions should be asked, with time and space provided for answers. The atmosphere should not be a do or die affair, but recognition that it is just a difference in opinions about how to deliver services to the people. Deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Salaam Musumba must be commended for recently addressing the same crowd without inflaming their supporters; it seems the women are leading the way in mature politics! A close observation of the voters actually shows that they have grown up and are willing to try and listen to issues if only the politicians will let them. The old rhetoric about the devil you know must stop: we are tired of devils, period.

As the elections near, bribery has become a hot topic among voters. News broke recently that each member of parliament had received 20 million Ugandan shillings (about 8400 USD) in what many Ugandans believe was an attempt by the ruling party to buy votes. Ernest Bazanye writes:

The other side has many explanations including “it's a token of appreciation,” it's meant for “monitoring government programmes”, it's typical. MPs get a huge wad of cash at the end of their terms all the time etc.

But the reason I hear from most of those who harp furiously on about this sh20m is that it is bribery. It is an attempt to bribe parliament before the elections.

They say I should be as incensed: a brazen and blatant attempt to compromise the peoples’ representatives in a barefaced bid to subvert the nation's future for the interests of a corrupt etc. But mostly the first thing that hit me was, “Dude. Sh20m! Whoa.”

…I wonder how much an iPad costs. I should stand for parliament one day.

While Angela Kintu is less impressed:

I will not vote anyone who gave me anything material for my vote — yes, you with the exercise books, do you think my vote is worth a 32-page book? And when the elections are done and I need school fees, will I ever hear from you again? Your mandate is not to solve my financial problems; it is to cause change in Uganda that will allow me to solve my own financial problems.

Less than an hour ago, at 5:43am Kampala time, Tumwijuke at Ugandan Insomniac announced that she would be tweeting the elections:

Follow my twitter feed on the Uganda 2011 elections @uginsomniac.

Have a wonderful, peaceful day.

You can follow her tweets and other election-related tweets throughout the day using the hashtag #ugandavotes.

This post is part of our special coverage Uganda: Walk to Work Protests.

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