In Malawi, in 2014, we had 'successful' elections.
Successful because an opposition party won - which really says a lot about the independence of the Electoral Commission. Successful because there were no people who died after the results were announced - if we can just forget the officer and a civilian who died during campaigning. Successful because the losing parties accepted the results - if we ignore all those desperate attempts to hold on to power by the sitting President at the time and all that crying from the opposition.
However, it is not as if on the day of releasing the results there was no tension. There was tension. Palpable tension that spread in the veins of the country.
Apparently, even before it came to the time of releasing the results, there was drama all the way through.
A friend told me that one day, while we were still waiting for the results to be announced, he was in town. A gentleman, whether in the spirit of exercise or high on something, decided to start running. Nobody waited to see what was chasing the gentleman. As characters in a badly choreographed dance, almost everyone joined in the running.
From what? Nobody knew.
It was just a reaction to the tension that the country was harbouring.
Fast forward to 2016, in Uganda.
At the time of writing, Ugandans have just finished voting. The results are trickling in and, unsurprisingly ( at least to me), they show incumbent Yoweri Museveni leading. Not with a small margin.
At this point, apparently, it is safe to say Museveni has gifted himself another five year term. Straight from presiding over the affairs of Uganda for thirty years!
I have a few friends in Uganda, I follow a few pages on Facebook that are Uganda based and they discuss their country. This time of elections, I should say, I had the pleasure and privilege of following their rationality and irrationality from a distance. It has been largely exciting and, also, has given me the time to reflect on the whole process of elections.
Before the voting time, you could easily see and observe that the electoral process in Uganda was in Miuseveni's favour. Critics abounded on Facebook, yes, but everything that the people were participating in had the sole aim of validating Museveni's stay.
From being invisible to the prying eyes of the electoral commission that saw every little step the opposition took to the arresting of Museveni's top contender, Kizza Besigye, as an outsider I could easily tell that Museveni was getting another term in office. With a majority.
And, I think I was right this far.
I monitored the comments on social media and most of them were largely against Museveni. However, it was the systems that were not against Museveni. The electoral commission and the police were tactfully acting on Museveni's commands. It is a shame that anybody expected to unseat Museveni from his position in such a structure.
The reports circulating on social media further indicate that it was not only the process to voting that was a sham. The voting in itself was, as well, another big round of comedy.
Emulating the Malawi Electoral Commission in 2014 when electoral materials took long to arrive in some parts of the country, the body in Uganda made sure it act directly to the script that their counterparts in Malawi had ever used. They delayed materials in some areas and when the people were angry and rioted, they postponed to the next day the elections of that area.
You would think at such an action people would accept that Museveni is the life President and any act of expecting the opposite was an act of delusion, but no! People were still optimistic for Besigye thinking by some last minute machinations he will pull a fast one over Museveni. I knew he would not. And, it is not because I have some Prophetic powers. It is because every other person could see that the election had been made into a parade with the ultimate goal of validating a dictatorship.
So, there were monitors and everything and anything on the ground. They will go away with reports and noise of an election being 'this' or 'that' or failing to be this or that. But, their reports will not change anything. It will still remain a sham election in which the voting did not matter but the counting did.