English and Uganda Politics

Yesterday, Monday, 15th February 2016, I was a discussant on the radio programme: “Spectrum” on Radio One FM90 and I stated a fact thus: “There are nine districts in Uganda in which the ruling party, the NRM, has its candidates unopposed for the positions of members of parliament.”

My submission was located within the context of how dumbfounded I am that the entire opposition, irrespective of individual parties, failed to successfully field candidates in nine constituencies that are likely located in nine different districts. This was in the context of the debate about the distances which one is required to stand away from the polling centers during polling day.

The opposition is up in arms that the distance is too long and it is alleging that this is one of the ways in which the ruling party, NRM, is plotting to rig the election.

During the radio programme, I asked how the opposition is expecting to have its agents at polling centers in those districts where they failed to successfully field parliamentary candidates. This I asked for I find it counter-productive for one to fixate on the distance from which we are allowed to stand from the polling centers; when one’s party is likely unable to deploy agents at all polling centers.

That is to say, the polling rules provide for each candidate or each political party (?) the provision to have present at all polling centers an agent to assure the polling process.

My logic is that if the entire opposition failed to successfully field candidates for members of parliament for nine constituencies it is unlikely that they will be able to deploy polling agents at all the polling centers in the districts in which the nine constituencies are located in particular and in the whole country in general.

In reaction to my submissions a known supporter for one of the opposition parties, took to Twitter and from his Twitter handle @BMKGift he tweeted as follows:

“@nowaraga Opposition didn’t fail to have parliamentary candidates in 9 districts as you insinuated but the NRM has 9 unopposed candidates.”

@BMKGift

The constituencies in which the NRM has unopposed members of parliament are:

  • Eastern Region Representative for People with Disabilities (covers multiple districts)
  • Buyaga West (constituency within a district, but does not cover entire district)
  • Bugahya (constituency within a district, but does not cover entire district)
  • Ruhinda North (constituency within a district, but does not cover entire district)
  • Gomba County (constituency within a district, but does not cover entire district)
  • Bududa District Woman MP
  • Koboko District Woman MP
  • Adjumani District Woman MP
  • Nyabushozi District woman MP

There are nine positions of members of parliament in which NRM candidates are unopposed. Of the nine positions, one covers multiple districts; four cover constituencies within districts; and four are district wide positions.

Meaning that there are four districts in which NRM candidates are unopposed for a district wide position. There are four districts in which NRM candidates are unopposed in entire constituencies, within possibly four different districts. There is an entire region in which an NRM candidate representing a special interest group for an entire region is unopposed.

How does @BMKGift’s reaction to my submission counter the spirit of the argument that I was making?

Semantically he may be correct to correct my statement to clarify that there are nine members of parliament who are unopposed rather than there being nine districts in which NRM candidates are unopposed.

But really, when contextualized in the larger picture, we are just semantically splitting hairs, so to speak. The logic of my submission still holds. It speaks volumes that the entire opposition in Uganda failed to field candidates for members of parliament for nine constituencies.

The inability of the entire opposition to field candidates for nine constituencies for members of parliament impacts negatively on the opposition’s ability to assure un-rigged polling results. That’s all am saying.

English is the official language of our nation-sate Uganda, but we its citizens struggle with it.

2 thoughts on “English and Uganda Politics”

  1. Good observation. I have learnt to gloss over many of those comments on social media – especially by those identities that have established themselves as opposed to anything said that does not suit their own beliefs (the word ‘intolerance’ comes to mind there).

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