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God, guts and glory — the case for the establishment of a Divine Electoral Commission in Uganda

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Babatunde Fagbayibo is an associate professor of law at the University of South Africa.

If we accept that Papa Museveni’s leadership of Uganda is divinely sanctioned, then we must believe that such stewardship will bring forth glory to his country, East Africa, and the entire continent.

Dear Her Excellency, First Lady and the Minister of Education of Uganda, Madame Janet Museveni,

Compliments of the season to you. I hope the wonderful city of Kampala and the entire country of Uganda, that has been lucky enough to be governed by your husband for the past 32 years, is faring well. If so, doxology!

I am sure that you are wondering why I have chosen to write to you so early in the year, considering that I am neither a citizen of Uganda nor any of the countries in the East African Community (EAC). Her Excellency, you need not to worry further. I consider myself a dutiful citizen of the African continent, one whose mission is to ensure that the sun that witnessed the nativity of this beautiful continent never withers.

As such, your recent comment regarding the divine selection of your husband to continue in office regardless of elections naturally arrested my attention. To put it in Nigerian pidgin parlance, who election help? Indeed, Madame Museveni, why allow the irritation of elections to stand in the way of a divinely organised project.

Madame Museveni, I have in the past offered my pan-African services, pro bono, to the former Zimbabwean first lady, Her (former) Excellency Madame Dr Grace Mugabe. In 2017, as Zimbabwe was preparing for elections, she had said that even if her husband died before the elections, she would ensure that he is fielded as a corpse.

Rather than supporting her, and seeing her suggestion as a unique contribution to political development in Africa, many castigated her. I am sure you would agree with me that we missed a golden opportunity there. This is the reason I have decided to once again provide my service to you in putting in place ideological and institutional measures towards the reinforcement of your statement on Papa Museveni’s stewardship in Uganda.

Madame Museveni, I must say that I remain perplexed by the various negative comments your statement has attracted. Many fail to see the importance of your statement, particularly in the areas of electoral reforms and how the millions of dollars spent on elections could rather be channelled towards other important socio-economic programmes. Again, who election help?

Madame Museveni, at the heart of your statement, are three contemporaneous issues that could aid other African countries in their quest for electoral reforms: God, guts and glory. Let me briefly explain this, Madame. You have invoked the name of God here, so we can agree that you are pushing the thesis of a divinely arranged electoral process.

That you are able to say this regardless of who is offended shows that you have guts, Madame Museveni. The glory aspect is simple and straightforward: If we accept that Papa Museveni’s leadership is divinely sanctioned, then we must invariably believe that such stewardship will bring forth glory to Uganda, East Africa, and the entire continent. I hope you are still with me on this point, Madame?

The three points stated above neatly dovetail into the importance of setting up an institutional mechanism for the realisation of the continued leadership of Papa Museveni. This is very simple. Madame Museveni, what needs to be done as a matter of national, sub-regional and continental urgency is the introduction of legislation that rechristens the Electoral Commission of Uganda as the Divine Electoral Commission (DEC).

The reformed Commission should clearly state that its mission flows from heavenly and not sinful earthly authority. In this respect, the Chair and Commissioners should only devote their allegiance to heavenly authority and Papa Museveni, who is a manifestation of God’s plan for Uganda. One of the key goals of this reform should be the elimination of presidential elections.

Why waste scarce resources on elections when we can all agree that Papa Museveni is divinely ordained to lead Uganda? Again, I repeat, who election help? There should, however, be a proviso that grants the DEC, in conjunction with Papa Museveni, the power to vary Papa Museveni’s leadership on the instructions of the heavenly host.

How about parliamentary and local-level elections? Madame Museveni, here I will suggest that the role of the divine should still be central. In this case, nationwide elections could still be held, but the legislation should stipulate that the results must first be subjected to a divine consultation, with the DEC having the power to alter the results to align with divine instructions.

Madame Museveni, the suggestions offered above are not set in stone as they could still be varied by yourself and Papa Museveni. All I have done here is to show my belief in your idea and also offer my services, pro bono, if needs be.

I look forward to hearing from you in this regard. Please extend my warm wishes to Papa Museveni as he continues to divinely govern Uganda. DM

Babatunde Fagbayibo is associate professor of law at the University of South Africa. Follow him on Twitter @babsfagbayibo

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