Sectarianism in Presidential Elections should not be ignored

It is interesting that, even though, the Iteso, my peole, had a fellow etesot in the race, a very strong presidential candidate moreover, Candidate Amuriat Oboi, they mostly voted for the incumbent, a munyankole. No doubt, voting in the recently concluded Uganda presidential elections took majorly sectarian lines. The Baganda mostly voted for Candidate Kyagulanyi, a fellow muganda, as did the Banyankole who voted mostly for Candidate Museveni, a fellow munyankole.

Yellow is the party colour for Candidate Museveni’s party and Red is for Candidate Kyagulanyi’s party.

Contextualize, indeed, that according to the official results declared by the Electoral Commission, more than half of the votes (64 percent of them) that Candidate Kyagulanyi got were from Buganda. And of the 58 parliamentary seats that Candidate Kyagulanyi’s party won in the Parliamentary Elections, 56 are of Buganda.

So, for the Iteso, if not the etesot, why not the muganda and instead the munyankole? Similarly, for the Acholi, the Langi, and other first nations of Uganda, why the munyankole and not the muganda? These questions interest me from a cultural anthropological perspective.

There is a valid theory that my people, the Iteso, mostly voted on the basis of “better the devil you know”; and basically rent-seeking – who is more likely to treat Teso and Iteso better while in office. You see, whereas, there is a specific history between Iteso and Banyankole; Iteso also have a very specific history with the Baganda.

In his book “The Iteso”, J.C.D. Lawrence, for example, devotes a sub-section titled: “Kakungulu’s Empire” in which he narrates “Kakungulu’s subjugation of Teso.” Under the command of Kakungulu, Baganda colonizers occupied Teso by force and significantly shed Iteso blood, in terms of numbers killed and the landgrabs.

Are modern day Iteso, perhaps, still holding a grudge against the descendants of those they believe to have committed atrocities on our ancestors? This is a valid question that needs to be asked and answered. Yes, if we are to re-imagine and re-constitute our nation-state Uganda in a manner that truly accommodates the fifty plus first-nations within it we must ask and answer uncomfortable questions such as this.

Time will tell if Iteso voted right or if instead they further compromised their negotiation power. As a start, let us wait and see the composition of the new cabinet 2021-2026. Will President Museveni treat Teso and Iteso better than he has done in his current term?

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