The Implications of NRM’s Botched Primaries

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On Wednesday October 28 2015, I discussed the aftermath of Uganda’s Ruling Party chaotic Primary elections with NTV’s Simon Kasyate. My take is that what happened in Tuesday’s elections was a microcosm of how the regime has been running the country, and the incompetent and mismanagement of Uganda’s public goods for 30 years. The unbelievable logistical incompetence for example in sending ballots to wrong districts, picture-less ballots, missing candidates’ names on the ballot paper are an example of corruption in the procurement process of that activity. For example since we know how people get contracts to do government work in this country, it’s not unfathomable that someone got a deal to print ballots simply by contacting someone in the high echelons of the party and not through a competitive bidding process. This happens in the building of roads, schools, and supplying drugs to health units. The devastation in those services and the impact on ordinary people never make news as much the NRM Primary did because the ‘small’ people affected are poor citizens with very low expectations of government efficiency and such incompetence doesn’t very much threaten the regime’s grip on political power

The NRM primary however was a huge news interest item for media houses and every bit of failure was prominently covered by the newsmedia. That’s what made all the difference.

Secondly, The culture of political violence that has been inculcated, the “by any means necessary” attitude to winning an election in Uganda and the clientelistic relationship between the political elite and the poor citizenry means that poll violence can only increase moving forward. Benefits from political offices have been so decentralized (with the size of the share at every level being gigantically different of course!) that every participant envisions a personal benefit from the process hence the deadly fist-fights we have been witnessing from the villages to big towns.

The video of our exchange can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6nRISaBww . My segment starts around 37:46 and ends at 58:30

 

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