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Museveni’s casino: Anne Mugisha on Uganda’s 2011 election

February 19, 2011

by Ann Garrison

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni celebrates his 26th year in office.
“We knew exactly what was going to happen in this election. We complained about the registers, we complained about the inflated numbers of people on the registers, we complained about the use of state resources in the election, but we still agreed to go in and participate. So that’s like walking into a casino, knowing that the guy who owns it has to make a profit. Sometimes a few lucky people make some money. But most of the time people lose.

“So this time around I lost. A few of our opposition people did scrape through, but the casino is owned by the ruling party and President Museveni and they would definitely be looking to make a profit. So that’s how I see this election – like a trip to the casino.”

That’s one quote from my conversation with Anne Mugisha, opposition candidate for Women’s Member of Parliament in Uganda’s Mbarara District, on Feb. 19, the day after Uganda’s 2011 presidential and parliamentary polls closed. She also reported that one of her volunteers came close to being arrested for objecting to the ruling National Resistance Movement’s reps openly buying votes in the center of a village, and she talked about the need to build a culture of nonviolent protest in Uganda, a process that she said would take years. Here’s the conversation:

http://goo.gl/fVKtL
Anne Mugisha
The script for a report on the Ugandan election as broadcast on KPFA Weekend News Feb. 19 follows:

KPFA Weekend News anchor Cameron Jones: Ugandans voted in parliamentary, presidential and local elections on Friday, after the Uganda Communications Commission’s telecom companies told bulk SMS providers to block messages containing key words or phrases such as “Tunisia,” “Egypt,” “Mubarak,” “Ben Ali” or “people power.” Uganda’s National Electoral Commission has projected President Yoweri Museveni the winner. Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986, with U.S. military, diplomatic, intelligence and financial support. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

Ann Garrison: Before yesterday’s polls, the Daily Monitor reported that there were roughly 140,000 dead people, 5,000 people 110 years and older, and half a million foreigners on the voter rolls. Ugandan American newspaper editor Milton Allimadi wrote, “The dead people might be so appalled that they’ll vote for the opposition this time,” but leading opposition presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye warned that ghost votes would be some of the most serious fraud.

He also predicted widespread vote buying by Museveni’s party and urged hungry Ugandans to take the money, get a good meal, then go out and vote against those who paid them:

Dr. Kizza Besigye: Well, the money must be eaten. It is our money. It is not anybody else’s money. This is YOUR money. Eat it and vote against the thieves.

Ann Garrison: Today Anne Mugisha, a member of Besigye’s party and a candidate for Women’s Member of Parliament in Uganda’s Mbarara District, reported that one of her volunteers came close to being arrested for disturbing the peace when she objected to agents of Museveni’s party openly buying votes in a village square.

Mugisha, like Besigye, is reporting a host of election violations as the National Electoral Commission projects her as a second place finisher, but she says this is no surprise:

Anne Mugisha: It’s like walking into a casino knowing that the guy who owns it has to make a profit. Sometimes a few lucky people make some money but most of the time people lose. So this time around I lost. A few of our opposition people did scrape through, but the casino is owned by the ruling party and President Museveni, and they will definitely be looking to make a profit.

Ann Garrison: Dr. Kizza Besigye held a press conference at the end of the day today in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to say that this year’s election had been even more rigged than before and that he will hold another press conference tomorrow to announce his response. Both he and opposition presidential candidate Olara Otunnu, before the polls, urged Ugandans not to accept the results that they knew would be rigged.

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye and his wife, Winnie, greet the crowd at a rally in Kampala, Uganda, on Feb. 16, 2011, the last day of campaigning for presidential elections. Veteran President Yoweri Museveni predicted a landslide victory in polls this week, dismissing Besigye's assertions that Uganda was ripe for an Egypt-style uprising. – Photo: Roberto Schmidt, AFP
When asked what he will do if people protest, Museveni responded that that was simple, that he would lock them up.

Dominique Diomi, a survivor of the ongoing Congo conflict which has cost millions of lives, said that Ugandans are far from the only ones concerned about Museveni retaining his hold on power.

Dominique Diomi: It is a disgrace that Yoweri Museveni was even allowed to stand for the presidency again after the U.N. Mapping Report that was released on Oct. 1 last year documented that his army perpetrated crimes against humanity and genocide and massacre of civilians in Congo.

Ann Garrison: For updates on the Ugandan situation, see AfrobeatRadio.net and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com. This story first appeared on her blog.

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One thought on “Museveni’s casino: Anne Mugisha on Uganda’s 2011 election

  1. Kamani Emma

    They have eyes but they dont see'' Am close to some real big shots in the Ugandan Gov't and this is what one said that came to pass,''i want this done and i know i have to talk to the big man Amama Mbabazi i'l just let the President know about it,like we usually do. Museveni a perpet as he is for Mbabazi will later take the blame and if the big man accepts will later take the seat and detain Museveni in a classy apartment/jail.'' These words and more i've heard and seen them come to pass but you on the outside think Museveni holds the power. Why do you think after all the money Amama has embazzled, the many secretive(not anymore) army shots he has bullied to prove he's above have actually put their tails between their legs, and no one can say a word, not the judiciary parliament nor the would be shot callers'' Believe it or not am anti Mbabazi and Museveni but this man so called big, has the army on the left museveni on the right and luck of shame, intergrety, honesty, gov't embazzled money as his arsenal hence untoucheable.

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