African countries-Uganda inclusive have witnessed pain, anger, torture, destructive and manipulative behaviours or traits among other vices during elections. It’s no longer news! The excitement or pride of participating is fast fading away. Political association are either by fear or secrecy. The people pressed by security operatives and on the other side radical political activists surprising divergent voices too. Online platforms are turning into slaughter (chat) rooms, violence both verbal or even physical seam to be the easy way out. It may seem like we have the right to retaliate and we may have it… but it doesn’t have to be.

Just like many decisions in life, we have a choice and those choices determine our habits, & our habits choose our future.” I have seen a mock war prediction trending on social media… if only we knew, we would realize it’s not even funny a single bit. Especially to a hurting and yet to fully heal society. I like and relate with what UNESCO’s constitution preamble says; “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” We can’t construct defense if we keep throwing stones to build them at the very thing we seek to gaurd our selves from, what then shall we use to build? If we shut down people with an opposing mindset to our own, then we limit harmony. Parallel trends of thought coexisting peacefully, disagreeing & making peace.

Elections for us is one of those avenues, note the words, “…one of those avenues…” meaning we have others, but violence can never be. As human beings, we are creative, inventive, at the same time choose the right path. Let’s all watch what and how we say anything on social media. We need to be keen to encourage our peers to act responsibly, be our brothers and sisters keepers. Election Day may be one, but a life time is more precious. Regimes will always rise and most definitely fall, but how you contribute to that process matters… a peaceful yet smart-lawful way will always come on top.

I may not speak for everyone, though I know most of you relate, we are scared-yet optimistic. Not just about the security forces but of our society too… and it’s okay, we need to be brave, we need to be courageous, we need to be patriotic. Let’s gets out there, go vote, peacefully return home and allow our agents and work with our observers with ourselves involved either online or on mainstream media and follow the elections. Times come and go, I repeat, regimes rise and FALL. If this is the time, it will and if not, it shall come to pass in due time. But let’s not fail to play our part.

I urge every stakeholder, to act with honour and be truthful. Let the will of the people be fulfilled. But if you don’t and you are in your future, always remember, “ the disobedience of yesterday will always splash on the shores of tomorrow.” Shame and discomfort shall befall you. As I plan to travel miles to vote, is evidence of my love for country and a declaration that my vote is not for sell nor can it be intimidated, I choose to ”free my vote” I choose peace.

For God and My Country?