Fellow Africans, friends and all people at large. I greet you all in your respective capacities. I very much believe in elections as an indicator of democracy in a society but I do not believe that violent elections are a manifestation of democracy.
In Africa and maybe other continents, we've leaders especially incumbents who fear free and fair elections and these are the ones who cause violence in elections. Leaders of category have a part from violence used used huge chunks of money and other gifts to bribe voters so that they re-vote them into power and actually this is what causes post election economic crises in these countries where inflation takes the front line. Violence in elections is usually in form of torturing citizens, intimidating citizens, illegally arresting and imprisoning of citizens, killing citizens, destruction of citizens' property, closure of media and press houses, investing in spy network systems, misuse of laws and leadership codes of conduct, arresting of human rights and democracy activists, arresting of political competitors, censorship of civil society organisations and other stakeholding organs, misuse of police and installation of crime perpetrating militia groups, to mention but a few.
All the above and others at large cannot facilitate free and fair elections. What disgruntles me with these fearful leaders is that on their swearing in ceremonies, they say their countries are Democratic.
My appeal to all of you especially my fellow Ugandans is that you keep on condemning such electoral irregularities. Please raise your voices louder against those who disguise as patriotic leaders
I again ask the international community to pay attention and offer your advice , support and Democratic methods of restoring free and fair elections in African countries and this is vital in strengthening the partnership between Africans and citizens of other continents.
I want to appreciate some African leaders especially Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa,Senegal, Zambia, Malawi, etc for trying hard to keep your countries Democratic and ask leaders of Uganda, Rwanda, DRC,Zimbabwe, Burundi etc to remember that citizens are the sole owners of the States and must be empowered to fully own their countries.
On behalf of my fellow human rights and democracy activists in Uganda and other African countries not excluding other continents, I ask national and international communities to respect and offer recognition and support to the work we do our citizens by working as voices to the voiceless citizens, advocating for respect for national and international human rights and democratic principles. I salute civil society organisations and their partners, journalists and media houses, religious and cultural leaders to mention but a few, for a good work they have tried to render to African citizens especially in countries that are marred by Democratic inefficiency during election periods.
NB: presidential elections are so pivotal to the status of every country. There fore when these elections are characterised by violence, citizens end up being led by dictators, leaders who're never held accountable by citizens, leaders who are corrupt, who violate human rights perennially, leaders whose regimes are never enjoyable to citizens due to poverty, unemployment, economic crises, poor service delivery etc.
NB: My humble appeal from fellow Ugandans: you know you are holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections on 18th February 2016 just a few hours from the time am writing this article, I ask you to open your eyes. It's your right and responsibility to vote according to article 59 of Uganda's constitution if you're above 18 years of age. You must vote, guard your vote and make sure that everything done on polling stations is transparent and peaceful. You must elect a leader who will free uganda from bandage. The 18th/2/2016 election has a big impact on Uganda's next five years.
Please vote responsibly, guard your vote to guard your country.
May God/Allah be with you all the time.
Gilbert M. Karengye
Activist For Human Rights and Democracy
Email: gilbertkarengye .com