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Your Mail: Is Uganda really the worst place for gays?

I watched in horror when a programme was aired on BBC3 naming Uganda as the worst place on earth to be gay.

I realised then how African countries are being publicised for all the wrong reasons. It amazed me how the gay community in Uganda is blaming everybody for their misfortunes while alleging that some of them live in the Bwaise slum because it is the safest place for them as a result of homophobia!

It is not right to say that most people living in the slums are gay. The programme also portrayed gays as being economically marginalised. I believe they are just down right lazy; they should get off their backs and go look for work like other Ugandans. Why should they be special?

Many people are being killed in Uganda by iron-bar thugs; it’s been going on for a few years; why is there such a fuss over Kato’s death?

Life in the UK is different from life in Uganda. Our cultures are different too. We deserve respect. People in the UK would be outraged too if the Ugandan media made a TV show portraying how nasty the UK was.

Apparently, for those who want to claim asylum in first world countries, all they need to say is, ‘I am gay and I am being persecuted’, paint their country black and head for the so called better life. I think that’s treason in itself.

Anna Baliddawa,


How were votes stolen despite our vigilance?

Following the press statement issued by the IPC presidential flag bearer on February 19, 2011, I find Dr Kizza Besigye’s post-election statements quite ridiculous, very confusing and uncalled for.

In his statement, the retired Colonel noted that the electoral process was marred by widespread malpractices, massive corruption, bribery of voters, stuffing of ballots and so forth.

But in one of his last rallies in Kampala, he told the gathering that he had done his part, monitored the ballot papers right from the printers to the Electoral Commission headquarters, and that he was going to escort the materials right up to the polling stations.

Besigye called upon us to play the last role; to be extra vigilant, pack our food so that we remain at the polling stations until the counting is done, and we did exactly as directed.

All this was done to ensure that no gaps were left for rigging. He assured us that he had trained enough personnel to man our votes. It really surprises me now that he’s turning round and apportioning blame.

I implore our beloved Colonel to please explain to Ugandans where the gaps came from and where the people he claimed would man our votes disappeared to.

Lastly, if it’s true as he said, that Ugandans have the sovereign and ultimate power, then he should have realised by now that they have spoken and we should honour and respect their decision.

Katwere Ronald,

Otunnu just had nothing to offer

It is a shame that the Uganda Peoples’ Congress presidential candidate, Olara Otunnu, did not turn up to cast his vote in Nakawa division on February 18.

While we watched on TV as all other presidential candidates showed up and cast their votes at their respective polling stations, Otunnu was nowhere to be seen.

The interpretation of his action could take many dimensions, but the most glaring one is that UPC is a dead party. It is not a party that Ugandans should ever trust or vote into power. Otunnu did not even believe in himself and his party!

This was a total betrayal, not only of his party, but of his supporters as well. The fact that he did not even vote for himself is enough proof that he had nothing to offer Ugandans. This now clearly explains why some UPC diehards defected from the party.

Jimmy Alemiga,


Ikuya missed point on Egyptian army

I was disappointed by Magode Ikuya’s recent views in his column in The Observer on the possibility of what happened in Tunisia and Egypt happening in Uganda.

In his view, what happened in the above two North African countries could not happen in Uganda because President Museveni is still very popular and the UPDF is too formidable to allow it to happen.

I trust that Ikuya, like all Ugandans, can vividly see the difference between Museveni the popular man of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the one of 2011.

Back then, he did not need to give out envelopes for support; people just loved him for what he used to say and do. The Museveni we have now is using material things (many call them bribes) to gain support.

Without doubt the UPDF has military might, but Ikuya contradicts himself when he says: “In terms of military hardware and tenacity, the Egyptian army is amongst the most formidable on the African continent yet these factors did not prevent President Mubarak from slipping out of office like a wing off a deadly fly.”

So indeed the good old man accepts that even with a formidable and well equipped army; when time came and the people decided that Mubarak should leave, the army being professional and pro-people did what was expected of it.

Whether this can happen in Uganda is dependant on the level and degree of professionalism and nationalism of the UPDF, not its formidability.

Frank Musoke,

Elections proved Besigye wrong

IPC flag bearer Kizza Besigye had made it a habit to remind the NRM that President Museveni’s percentages have been declining from 75.5% (1996), 69.4% (2001) to 59.2% (2006).

However, in the recently concluded elections (2011), President Museveni bounced back with 68.4% of the vote while, Besigye’s own percentage dropped from 37.3% (2006) to 26.01%!

This was approximately 10% rise and fall between the two candidates. It is nowhere near the hoped ‘too close to call’ to warrant a re-run!

As expected, the presence of so many political players in this election divided the opposition vote, but even then their sum total only came to 31.61%. What does that inform us?

That with less than 32%, even if all the seven opposition candidates had united under the IPC, they still wouldn’t have been strong enough to eject President Museveni!

The results also proved that the three recent opinion polls conducted before the elections were not far off the mark.

The parliamentary elections have also gone NRM’s way, with the party winning 76% of the seats in Parliament while managing to capture northern Uganda.

Josepha Jabo,


Implement lessons from 2011 elections

The 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections are over. The management of the electoral process before, during and after the elections has fundamental lessons for Uganda that should be the focus of the Electoral Commission for the next five years, beginning now.

Some of the areas that would require improvement are:

  • Issuance of national identity cards before 2016 is a matter of national priority not only for future elections but also for the overall peace and stability, given the current threats of terrorism. This will also eliminate fears of electoral fraud.
  • Mainstreaming of voter education is key, given that there were over 300,000 invalid votes in the last elections arising from lack of adequate voter education.
  • Training of election officials to ensure better management of the exercise. This should always start two years ahead of the elections.
  • Preparation for elections in Uganda should not be a seasonal affair but a permanent pre-occupation of the Electoral Commission. This means that immediately after this election, the commission should develop her road map for the next elections so that government finances it on time for better preparations.
  • Engaging government to grow adequate Police capacity to manage security during elections. The idea of deploying the military evokes fear within the populace.

Richard Mubiru,


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