Uganda Elects 2011: The Legendary Side Of Things

By • Feb 18th, 2011 • Category: Features

Hi. Humble Erique here. I’m embarrassed. Yesterday I put all my trust in a beer that told me (swore even) that if I let it in, we would instantly become best friends and no, I shouldn’t worry coz it would wake me up early the next day to vote. I just woke up an hour ago. Bollocks!

My hangover always comes with good things from the three wise men. For instance I remember that last night an Indian NRM political aspirant’s ass was seriously whooped all the way to hospital by FDC dudes (apparently). That’s the first wise man. The second wise man says that because Steakout was packed with party animals, people are actually not afraid or just not thinking about the impending post election violence as the media suggests. Either that or they had come to buy alcohol, cigarettes and music CDS to stock in their houses in preparation for the violence-induced famine they were told about.

The third wise man is still on a boda coming. Hehe. (Don’t mind the laughter. It’s an inside joke.) Oh, he’s here. He says there were gun-wielding clowns from the army walking past Mulago just moments ago. I repeat, the army has been deployed as stand up comedians to give the elections a lighter side. (Insert LOL here.)

The other Legends are out of office voting, walking just, snitching, collecting pictorial evidence and keeping a safe distance from each other. You see we all support different candidates which is why we have to use mobile phones even to say things like “Hello? Philistine, pass me the sugar. No, don’t come nearer. Put it there and step back slowly. I’ll get it myself.”

Be right back with more snitching.

12:07 pm

Baz here with the first confirmed instance of electoral fraud recorded when a voter who never registered and really wasn’t even going to vote in the first place, but was afraid of being mocked and ridiculed by his more civil-minded friends, dipped his thumb into a tin of shoe polish and is now claiming to have cast his ballot for Mao.

12:28 pm

Deployment of armymen on the streets. At Mulago a troupe is responsible for setting off earworms. You know earworms. When a song starts playing in your head and you can’t get rid of it.

12:33 pm

Erique again. Another one refused to vote with his thumb because his political affiliation did not allow it. He wanted to simultaneously use the index and middle fingers. Oh, here’s the first instance of electoral violence. He is severely beating the pen he has been given to use instead of his fingers. He claims it doesn’t work properly. Now he is violently swinging it in the air to make it work. This is getting out of hand. Where are the teargas guys?

12:52 pm

They claim I’m not on the ligester. So I tell them yes, that’s true so let them check the register instead. Then they insist they’ve checked the ligester andyam noti deya, my flend. I insist that they stop checking the ligester and use the register coz that’s where I appear and before they retort, some other guy with a badge comes in to ask: “What’s going on here?” I conveniently receive a phone call before they find out I’m intentionally at the wrong polling station.

01:00 pm

Sleek here. Where to start where to start? First off, I speed to the voting venue on a boda but the rider isn’t too sure of where the polling station is. So he parks and points down a dingy, impassable road. “The polling station is that way,” he says.

I jump off the boda, pull him off and proceed to deliver a right hook, a left hook, a jab and finally, a round kick. Ok, I only promise to deliver these things. And he promptly restarts the bike and takes me to the venue. I almost typed “...he promptly restarts the bike and rides me to the venue…”. But I know how the Ugandan reader’s mind works so not today.

The boda boda

01:15 pm

I join the queue at the back. Nice innocent voter. It’s a short queue. I’m number 20-something. I pull a Paulo Coelho book out and fidget with my Chinese MP3 player to get it to give me some Alaine as the wait begins.

2011 Elections. The queue

The Short queue

1:25 pm

Damn! I last saw a queue move this fast when the girl at the front was letting guys feel on her. Maybe the Electoral Commission is letting guys feel on…ah crap, that’s not possible. I get to the front of the line, I say my name say my name…EC guy looks through the register. Nothing. I say name say ma name again. Still nothing. I read him my details down to the voter ID, got from the Electoral Commission online register. Still nothing. He confirms that I’m at the right polling station but he says ”I donont see yuwa nem.”  I ask him what I should do. He scratches himself. I ask again, this time narrowing my eyes to small slits and starting to slowly remove my watch lest I hurt it while causing grievous bodily harm. He says he doesn’t know. My Chinese MP3 player still hasn’t started playing my soothing Alaine sounds. My blood is boiling. I figure I should ask that very Ugandan question “Do you know who I am?” Pictures of peaceful, floating seagulls go through my mind. I breathe in deeply.

Electoral Commission guy then says, “There’s nothing I can do. They told me to only give a ballot paper to people whose names are on the register. Maybe you go to the Electoral Commission.” har har. Dude, YOU are the EC. Ok, that ends my first attempt at voting. Maybe in 20 years, when it’s done online, I’ll re-attempt.

Hop Two Three Four! Taken near Mulago

2:23 pm

Erique again. The city is starving. The traffic lights have said go but no one wants to move. Everyone looks around and thinks “Are we even supposed to be here? Nga there’s no one! Do you think we should give the lights what they want?”

We go or?

2:56 pm

I’m at a friend’s place having lunch. We used to talk girls, partying and making the big bucks. Now we’re discussing the political, economic and social repercussions of this voting process if it turned out to be unfree and unfair, and who will win. I don’t know him anymore. Who subjects a friend to political talk? I realize I have to leave his place or one of us will leave bruised.

3:09 pm

Army and police are still on the streets. A water tank and fire brigade whiz past me with sirens. I hear someone asking where they are going. I see another looking at him with how-the-hell-should-I-know eyes. It’s a critical day. Everyone is anxious. A policeman in Wandegeya picks his nose carefully for any signs of violence. Another reads newspapers while his buddies vigilantly play matatu for security reasons.

3:18 pm

The turnout at several polling stations is poor with a number of polling stations having nothing to eat or drink and no place to sleep. The Kamwokya station’s prayer is answered. It receives a consignment of two more voters. Hallelujah!

3:40 pm

This thing of missing names is getting serious. I receive three more texts from buddies telling me they weren’t on the list. Mbu one was even shoved away for insisting he registered. Our camera guy reports violence. I rush to where he is and find him getting a hot chic’s digits while his New Vision counterpart gets the juicy shot.

Our cam guy still ignores the violence. I hear him promising to put her on a billboard. “Do you know ULK? I own it,” he regales her.

3:52 pm

Besigye’s name is also missing from his polling station. He’s sent to another station in Rwakabengo where he finds his name. I need something to drink.

4:57 pm

From HQ, Baz here:  This is the story of how the cruel and brutal disenfranchisement of a patriotic sexy voter named withheld that occurred this morning at a Kampala voting center. Not only was her God-given right to cast the vote for the candidate of her choice shamefully violated, it was actually given away. TWICE. To persons unknown.

Mubufunze, Withy (for short) goes to vote and is told, “Babes, according to this here, you already voted.” She assumes it is an error and maybe she is at the wrong station. She travels to another station, the one she was supposed to have transferred from. Only to find that there, too, she had already voted.

Is this rigging???? Or has Withy been sleepwalking again? We hope for the full report on the BBC  at the top of the hour. I don’t do in-depth investigations.

5:00pm

Polls close. First reports show that Lubega is in the lead so far according to the person who counted his vote.

5:15pm

Sleek here. Reports trickling in have other media houses running wild; word has it that Olara Otunnu, one of the presidential candidates (the one who was once a UN under secretary general), did not vote. Yes, a candidate DID NOT VOTE. Everyone’s wondering wasap, where he is, what he is doing. But we got this. We did some heavy investigation as to where the guy was and we found him here:

Olara celebrating

Yo Yo yo, I already won men!

There he is, throwing back pints, celebrating his victory.  He was in such a jovial mood, drinks were on him and the DJ was only playing Olara’s tunes. “I have no time to waste  lining up yet I already know the outcome. Let’s parre!!” he  kept saying over and over. And over. We out.

7:23pm

Wait! Breaking news! Erique on the microphone. Fresh reports trickling in from Otunnu’s parre indicate that all missing names were bribed by unidentified EC officials to leave the registers and go hang. Our reporter found most of them slumped on the toilet floor wasted but luckily, we found one sober name:

” I am Samuel Lubega’s name. We were told that there would be free booze and that we would be given free transport to and from the register. They even assured us that we would be brought back to the register early but it’s past 7pm and no one has picked us up,” it said sobbing.

Now we out for real.

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