Tag Archives: Uganda

Election Circus

Uganda is not the only country experiencing an unique electoral season. The United States, the beacon of democracy, recently completed the mid-term electoral cycle in which Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. There was a fair share of clean and competitive campaigns with intelligent candidates from both sides, but of course there were some circus acts involved. Fortunately, many of the candidates and campaigns that were better suited for the limelight of Barnum & Bailey’s can now only bask in their former glory of national attention and not enjoy the limelight (maybe better phrased as the puke green light) of Washington, DC or their respective state capitols.

One of the up and coming global powers recently completed an election cycle as well, but in Brazil, some candidates, Francisco Silva in particular, have literally stepped out from the circus tent and into the Parliamentary halls of Brasilia. Silva, better known as Tiririca (Grumpy in Portuguese) the clown received more votes than any other Parliamentarian candidate. Although electing a clown sounds crazy enough, what makes this story even more interesting is that Tiririca may be illiterate. Due to Brazil’s relatively high rate of illiteracy, laws require that all elected officials must be literate in order to take office. Democracy and illiteracy are now clashing in Brazil and the only way to move forward is to test Tiririca’s reading and writing. Tiririca was tested on Thursday 11/11, but results have yet to be revealed (at the time this post was written), so stay on the lookout to see if a clown was elected to the Brazilian Parliament.

Maybe this is a good sign for Brazil’s future; although the U.S. did not vote a witch into Senate, Americans did vote an Aqua Buddha into the Senate. Brazil, you’re almost there, next time you vote, don’t vote for the clown, be more creative and vote for a mythical figure.

A New Rap Mogul?

Do you recognize this man?

No? Well he’s the newest hip-hop/rap sensation to hit the international scene. He’s also Uganda‘s President.

Rap video

Yoweri Museveni has been the President of Uganda since 1986. He was one of the guerrilla leaders that ousted Idi Amin and then fought against the Obote Regime. He quickly gained support from the West. Under his leadership, Uganda’s economy rapidly grew and the country was improving and Uganda mounted one of the more successful responses to HIV/AIDS.

Much like previous and contemporary African rulers and Presidents, Museveni enjoyed success and widespread support in his early years, but as time passed, his benevolent style of leadership slowly changed.

In 1996, the first free elections under Museveni’s leadership were held. Museveni won. Don’t worry, international observers said the election was free and fair. As his first elected term as President was coming to an end, he stated that the 2001 campaign would be his last run for President. It made sense that Museveni would gracefully bow down from the political scene because Uganda was no longer the celebrated African nation it had once been.

Museveni reached his international political pinnacle in 1998 when President Clinton visited the country. Of course this visit came too late, Museveni’s decline into the all too familiar story of African benevolent President becoming authoritarian strong-hands had already begun.

The first signs of Museveni’s and Uganda’s decline occurred when Tutsi rebel forces that would eventually slaughter thousands of Hutus invaded Rwanda from Uganda. Kagame, the Tutsi established leader of Rwanda was a former Museveni fighter. In 1998, the same year that President Clinton visited, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo to finish the slaughtering of Hutus who had fled across the border and to assist the CIA overthrow the President of Zaire.

By the way, his re-election in 2001 was marked with considerable increases in violence, especially aimed at opposition leaders. The 2001 elections were not free and fair, the results were taken to Uganda’s Supreme Court and all five judges recognized irregularities and illegalities, but three of the judges believed that such issues did not ultimately change the outcome of the election. Museveni won and the Supreme Court ratified his victory.

As his second term unfolded, Museveni continued to restrict opposition movements and by 2006, Museveni had changed Uganda’s constitution in order to eliminate Presidential term limits.

Obviously he won re-election since he’s running again. Elections are to be held in February 2011. In his newest political stunt, Museveni has released the rap video. It is aimed at garnering support from the youth of Uganda. Maybe it will work, maybe the youth are too young and blind to his past infractions, lies and evil deeds, but maybe it won’t. Either way it’s time for the African Union and the United States to take a stand against the practice of writing Constitutional amendments that either increase of eliminate term limits; but then again, with the United States primarily focused on the prevention of Islamic fundamentalist gaining power, keeping Museveni in power may not be such a terrible thing.

As the bearer of Democratic ideals, philosophy and law, shouldn’t the U.S. be interested and at least semi-involved in providing guidance and correction for the democratic process in all countries and not just the Islamic world?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. According to Uganda’s law, homosexuals can be sentenced to prison anywhere from 14 years to life; but that’s not it, lawmakers have proposed a new bill that adds the death penalty as a legal punishment for homosexuality. Still think the United States shouldn’t be more involved?

Being the super power in a unipolar world implies such responsibilities. The U.S. has the responsibility and duty to promote and ensure free and fair elections throughout the world. But of course there will always be set backs (Palestine) to pushing for free, fair and democratic rule.