“Rights” Concept Abused as it is Misapplied

Last month, January 2016, my dear little sister-friend shared, on face book, her moving testimony, as a survivor of cancer, her ordeal negotiating through Uganda’s health care system which has insufficient human resources and infrastructure for quick diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Her testimony so impacted me that I shared it in a post on my blog, this blog, The Humanist View, titled: “Ugandans die not because of cancer but neglect.” Read more https://thehumanistview.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/ugandans-die-not-because-of-cancer-but-neglect/

Yes, I was so impacted by my little sister-friend’s testimony that I shared it on my twitter handle @nowaraga as well, accompanied with the following comment:

Instead of funding Kyala and Mabirizi to contest in presidential elections #Uganda would have better utilised funds on establishing cancer treatment infrastructure.

Kyalya and Mabirizi are among those who in 2016 are contesting for the Presidency of the Republic of Uganda. According to a recent poll, Kyalya has insignificant support of 0.6 percent and Mabirizi even worse of only 0.1 percent of the electorate who indicate that they would vote for them. Each of the two is contesting as an independent, without the backing of a political party.

Uganda is ranked as the world’s most ethnically diverse country for its peoples are of over 50 different ethnic groups. I find it unacceptable, therefore, that any Ugandan should waste tax payers’ money contesting for the Presidency of Uganda while basing one’s campaign on a platform of sectarianism and tribalism.

Kyalya’s comments located in sectarianism and tribalism got the better of me and as an active citizen I wrote a post on this blog titled: “Candidate Kyalya exemplifies what is wrong with multiparty democracy in Uganda.” Read more https://thehumanistview.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/candidate-kyalya-exemplifies-what-is-wrong-with-multiparty-democracy-in-uganda/

Let us now get to the point of this blog post. When I was moved by my little sister-friends testimony and shared on Twitter (@nowaraga) my opinion that the taxes that I and other Ugandans pay to the State should be better utilised for improving health care for cancer patients in Uganda rather than fund presidential candidates who clearly do not have a chance of winning, one culturally dislocated Ugandan (CDU) came at me fast and furious.  Here below are his tweets reproduced:

Kyalya and Mabirizi have the same rights just like all other candidates! When will Ugandans respect rights.

 They have a right to contest for office if you have a case against them use your right as a citizen and go to court. 

It is their right as citizens to get security unless that law has been revised overnight.

 As a tax payer who pays in millions as well I cannot let the rights of others be abused unlawfully

 Your comment is encroaching in others’ freedoms and in fact it takes away the actual facts. You are free!

From his tweets above, I am certain that you have already deduced what I mean by one who is culturally dislocated. This CDU is certainly one among those beings who are the more conceptually muddled.

But, just in case, to get an excellent description of CDUs I recommend that you acquaint yourself with Okot p’Bitek’s poem “Song of Lawino” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Lawino.

I also invite you to read another of my posts on this blog titled: “Going back to our roots” https://thehumanistview.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/going-back-to-our-roots/.

Anyway, reading this CDU’s tweets, with incredulity, I wondered: How is it not my right to make comments about prioritising the utilisation of the taxes that I pay to the State? And hey, it is not an absolute right for one to contest for the Presidency of Uganda. There are obligations – moral and legal – that limit the conduct of and that assign duties to those who contest for the Presidency of Uganda. Not to incite ethnic tensions is a number one responsibility, for example, for one contesting for the Presidency of Uganda; a country that is made up of diverse ethnic groups. It is simply common sense.

It is in fact the right and duty of active citizens, such as I am, to hold to account those who contest for the Presidency of Uganda. It is my conviction that one who contests for the Presidency of Uganda and that utilises their campaign platform to incite ethnic tensions automatically looses their right to contest for the Presidency of Uganda.

You may want to know that I am not the only Ugandan who thinks that the colossal amounts of funds that are utilised for Presidential Campaigns in Uganda could be better utilised on provision of health care services. “FDC urges govt to invest campaign cash in provision of services.” Read more http://www.elections.co.ug/new-vision/election/1416873/fdc-urges-government-invest-campaign-cash-provision-services

Staying on point, I continue with incredulity to wonder, does this CDU think that the right of Kyalya and Mabirizi to contest for the Presidency of Uganda erases my right of free speech? More so, does their right to contest for the Presidency trump the rights of my little sister-friend and hundreds of Ugandans who have the misfortune to get afflicted by cancer?

By the way, the CDU’s tweeting fury did not only misapply the concept of “rights”, but went ahead to blatantly peddle lies in order to justify his misapplication. He tweeted:

Unless you have information that government is funding any of them I would suggest you check facts.

 They actually paid 20 million UGX and what have you (lumps me with the current administration of Uganda) given them that they are not entitled to as citizens?

 We (includes himself in the current administration of Uganda) took their 20 million and gave them no coin but just the obvious which security that is for all.

 After all they paid their nomination fee from their money! You can take the police and cars away and we see if they can’t move.

It is as bright as sunshine, for which Uganda is gifted to enjoy daily – you cannot miss it. Among the worst injustices on Ugandans are the billions of shillings that we spend on holding elections – some of which is borrowed money. Read more on this from my post on this blog titled: “The crisis of ‘big man’ leadership in Uganda” https://thehumanistview.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-crisis-of-big-man-leadership-in-uganda/

There are the direct costs and there are the indirect costs that the nation state Uganda incurs on every single person who contests for an election, more so the Presidency. Only a CDU can contest that. Just take for example, something as simple as the costs of producing the ballot papers for Uganda’s presidential elections.

In the case of the 2016 elections, the ballot papers for the presidential election were printed abroad and then they were flown in, yes, flown in, to Uganda aboard planes that are owned by countries other than Uganda. That is to say, the only thing that is Ugandan on the Presidential Election Ballot Papers is the images of the candidates. The ink, paper, design, printing, name it, is imported and at a cost.

Continuing to make my point using ballot papers, my reasoning was that if Kyalya and Mabirizi were not on the ballot papers – the quantity of ink, paper, design work, printing costs and freight costs would have been saved. Frankly, as a matter of fact, there are three other candidates on Uganda’s 2016 Presidential Elections Ballot Paper who should not be on it – all those polling below 1.0 percent; they clearly do not stand a chance! You can do this analysis for all other ‘necessary’ costs – provision of cars, provision of security, etc., for those five candidates who do not stand a chance and you cannot but see my logic.

And yes, both Kyalya and Mbirizi have not been able to hold significant campaigns due to insufficient funding – they neither have political party backing nor grassroots backing. But the State has nevertheless incurred non-refundable costs on them; which costs I would have preferred utilised for establishing health care infrastructure for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.


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