As a youth advocate, practising what I preach is important. I believe that voting is the most effective way young people can influence decision making in Uganda.
I set off on the eve of election day to Manafwa district where my polling station is located, hoping to vote and mobilise others to do the same. At least that was the plan.
Getting a bus direct to the district turned out to be difficult and as a result I had to hire a private vehicle which resulted in a long expensive trip with lots of stop overs.
Furthermore, public threats from the army and the police discouraged alot of people from turning up to vote.
The disconnection of social media platforms and mobile money was also a hinderance as alot of people couldn’t access their funds so that they could travel. And since social media is one of the best mobilization tools among the young, there was also a generally low turn up in that demographic as well.
In some areas, ballot papers were delayed resulting in congestion at the polling stations. If the Electoral Commission had had better mechanisms for controlling numbers, many people, just from sheer exhaustion, wouldn’t have returned home without voting.
I had to use a BodaBoda (commercial motorcycle) for three hours just to make sure I could cast my vote.
The entire experience just highlights my lack of faith in the electoral system of Uganda. As I speak, in five subregions of Bugisu, few young women turned up to vote. The irony being that there were several elderly women waiting in line. Many young people were relunctant to show up due to the belief that the incumbent President will be declared the winner no matter what.
For now, all any of us can do is wait for results and discourage violence. My battle was at the ballot, now all i can do is wait.
For God and My Country