n the determination of Election Petition No.1 of 2016, the Supreme Court of Uganda made a series of recommendations (or orders?) for electoral reforms necessary for the holding of free, fair and credible elections in Uganda.
Of course Mr Museveni has originated a constitutional amendment process that is likely to accommodate the said orders of the Supreme Court ruling of Election Petition No. 1 of 2016. But the fear that the proposed constitutional amendment may remove the presidential age-limit is so overwhelming that the
political opposition now prefers that electoral and governance reforms be deferred. Why?
Because the direct import of the removal of the 75-year age limit is to allow Mr Museveni to run for office in the 2021 presidential elections.
With a sinful majority in Parliament, the Musevenistas would carry the day. However, such a majority action and group-think would only be for what a Makerere University don called ‘majoritarian stampede’. It will be endigito (Runyankore for stampede).
If democracy were to be reduced to majority rule, then our ambition to rule would be reduced to the manufacturing of such a majority.
We can manufacture majority support by situating the armed forces and the national Treasury to rally the population. Dear reader, these two (the UPDF and Bank of Uganda) are now the biggest political constituencies.
The opposition can be bought with public funds and the noisy youth can be shown the brutal force of the armed forces.
Mr Museveni was recently asked whether he would run for office in 2021. His answer? We will follow the Constitution. The journalist repeated the question and Mr Museveni repeated his answer. Chei!
And a certain Betty Anywar of Kitgum was also asked whether she supports the removal of the constitutional requirement that a presidential candidate be less than 75 years of age. She said she would consult her people and be guided by their by views.
Come on mama, not all questions must be answered. That’s why journalists invented the ‘no comment’ line.
And to Mr Museveni, the question of the Al Jazeera journalist was directed to you as a person: Will you or will you not…? Answer: Yes or no.
Majority support for leadership can be such a nuisance as it can be fleeting. The good thing with leadership is that the qualities of a leader (political or military) are simple: A leader must be a good man or woman.
Those seeking majoritarian stampede in Parliament today should be reminded that by the end of 1969, there were only four Opposition members in the Parliament of Uganda. Buganda Kingdom, which had always played the historical role of counter-balancing the condescending attitude of the central government (colonial and post-colonial), had been desecrated to nonexistent in 1966.
And oh boy, without the pesky Buganda Kingdom and a sinful majority in Parliament, it was a haven for the UPC administration.
But it didn’t last. As we all know, the UPC government was overthrown in January 1971 by the ‘real’ majority: The military.
The same script had a repeat play in the second UPC administration.
All Busoga DP MPs, save for Prof Yoweri Kyesimira, emptied themselves into the UPC basket. But this too didn’t last. The second UPC administration was also overthrown by the military in July 1985.
One may argue that President Milton Obote lacked the full support or control of the military. But this is basically our point: That majority political support (in Parliament or elsewhere) can be manufactured by the brutal force of the State’s instruments of coercion and the soft power of the national Treasury.
Is that the majority rule democratic practice requires us to uphold?
Mr Bisiika is the executive
editor of East African Flagpost.