In Uganda, the culture of accepting defeat is rare. I understand the news of a defeat can be disheartening, but again, there can only be two outcomes; a win and a defeat. You can almost be sure that after yesterday’s elections, there will be countless people coming out to fault their rivals for using underhand means to win the elections. This is so typical of Ugandans. Nothing is ever fair unless it goes their way but at what cost? Lost lives or property? The problem is that we make elections a do-or-die affair when it actually isn’t. People invest lots of time and wads of cash that defeat becomes imaginary. The truth is that defeat will always be a part of any contest and anyone vying for any position should expect it. The maturity to accept that things didn’t turn out the way you expected is what makes great leaders. If a leader can’t absorb a situation that didn’t turn out in his favour, that person simply isn’t fit to be a leader. Simple as that.
There have been raging emotions in the past few days from many supporters as campaigns drew to a close and I would like to believe that calm will be restored after votes have been cast. The police and army look to be ready for any upsurge which is good. However, there have been a lot of young people with obsessive support for different parties and candidates. Their energetic support has an element of hooliganism and could go a long way in disrupting peace. We have seen them chanting wildly while wielding sticks and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Uganda has always been there with or without elections so this obsession for particular candidates should stop. Frankly, it doesn’t yield anything.
We are Ugandans most importantly and that should count for something. Obviously, we are divided by ideology, tribe and many things but are joined by one fact – that we are Ugandans. That means that we should try to tolerate each other for the good of our country. Let us desist from violence or other illicit behaviour during or after this election period.
After this entire election hullabaloo, we are still left with our country but in which state? Let’s not do things that will endanger our lives, careers, businesses and relationships because of this election obsession. For those whose candidates will win, celebrate responsibly and for those whose candidates were defeated, try to lose honourably. Life goes on, so everyone should do their part to make this country a better and warm place.