This week, the topic of the Ekimeeza was on elections in South Africa and how Uganda could learn or take examples for Ugandan elections in 2011. Again, no position was taken and no preliminary explanation or overview of key concepts concerning elections or South Africa were made. Again, the MP of the day came in 15 minutes after the show had started making the appearance of some kind of god or movie star. He brought his wife and both wore immaculate white casual clothing.
This was an MP from the FDC and this week I found the party politics playing in the Ekimeeza. Mr. Wasula has a list where he writes down the attendants who wish to speak, he states the name and the political party they belong to. One row for NRM members and the other row for ‘opposition’. This list should be evenly divided. This is another mechanism to prevent one sided and potentially threatening effects. The timekeeper assisting Mr Wasula has an awkward position. Very clearly expressing his support for the ruling NRM party, he is the one who arbitrarily holds up the sign that shows when the speaker has one minute to go and when he has run out of time. Last week’s MP could go on talking indefinitely whilst this opposition party MP only got about 10 minutes. When the MP did not stop talking and increasingly engaged in party politics, Mr. Wasula and a little fellow (who’s function I do not know) were clearly getting stressed.
Because the word ‘elections’ was in today’s topic the Ekimeeza was split up in two sides, FDC and NRM. Not a lot was talked about for instance: educating the electorate, state funding of election campaigns or electronic voting. What was talked about was how bad the FDC was and how good the NRM or vice versa. Degrading and emotional remarks about the other party were made and it looked more like a WWF pre fight drama show than an intellectual discussion. One contestant came up with witchcraft stories about the ruling party and time and again Ruling party members spend their whole speech talking about party politics, never mentioning South Africa. Even the MP could not resist adding to his remarks: ‘if the FDC will win… AND WE WILL,..’.
I amaze myself about the level of analytical thinking and especially; what is perceived by knowledge. Unfunded assumptions are shouted through the Microphone with no objection, but if somebody has the date of the independence of southern Gabon wrong he is perceived as somebody who did not read his books well. It is very clear that the education system these people were brought up with was directed towards remembering what was said and not to critical thinking or analyzing. This seems to relate with the quality of education and personal assistance by teachers to pupils. When the number of students in a class is too big it is impossible for children to get a tailored education. This lack of personal assistance results in just remembering what is said. During the Ekimeeza there were about 3 discussions on dates.
The only time somebody mentioned the need for the electorate to be educated on their rights, the person called the group of people living in rural areas the’ ignorant electorate’. There was a general agreement about this statement, expressed by some mumbling and clapping, but the topic was not elaborated upon or mentioned by other speakers.
Read more on my personal weblog: www.ICT4Accountability.wordpress.com