Why Presidential Aspirants should first hold their fire – Sam Mayanja New vision 16.09.2015


The rule of law and constitutional multiparty Dispensation Uganda is enjoying today can easily slip into chaos and reverse all the gains Ugandans are enjoying unless all parties in the political elite observe the rule of law and constitutionalism enshrined in the various laws which are the vehicles which drive constitutionalism.

No nation can grow if each time elections are to be held, chaos is unleashed on society by the political elite who in their just ambition to take the control of the affairs of this nation can go to all length, including putting the nation in a state of war.

Those vying for political office must always remind themselves that no one is greater than Uganda and that the stability of Uganda is more paramount than the political office to which the political elite are vying. That stability is sacrosanct.

The law regarding presidential candidacy is clear. This law is divided in two clear distinctions: the first is a presidential aspirant and the second the presidential candidate.

It appears that our political elite have deliberately refused to draw a distinction between aspirancy and candidacy and fused the two into one and in the process, drawing Police action into play.

Under the Presidential Elections Act, a presidential aspirant is clearly indicated as that Ugandan intending to stand as a candidate during the elections for the office of the President.

The Act gives guidelines to this Ugandan who has shown these aspirations. That Ugandan may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as a presidential candidate by carrying out nationwide consultations and in doing so, the aspirant is obliged to introduce himself or herself to the Electoral Commission and notify the relevant local and Police authorities of the area he or she intends to do the consultations.

According to the law, these consultations which may be nationwide include preparing his or her manifesto and other campaign materials, raising funds for his or her campaign through lawful means and convening meetings of national delegates.

It, therefore, serves to mean that an aspirant can be any person who expresses an interest in being a presidential candidate and is not a presidential candidate or expects the treatment a presidential candidate gets.

In Uganda’s present dispensation of multiparty democracy and constitutionalism, nomination of candidates is either done by a political party or by a party declaring him or her an independent candidate without being sponsored by any political party.

Therefore, any citizen capable of contesting in an election and with the necessary qualifications for a presidential candidate can be an aspirant. An aspirant is a forerunner of a presidential candidate.

Any Ugandan may become an aspirant even before he or she is chosen by his or her political party for which he or she may wish to become the flag bearer or candidate.

The rules linked to campaign for the presidential office and the rights and privileges extended by law to presidential candidates only come in play when an aspirant is declared a presidential candidate.

The political elite is fully aware of these clear distinctions of the law and to date, there is no presidential candidate who has been declared under law for the 2016 presidential elections.

To jump from aspirancy to candidacy requires a legal process. That legal process must be respected within the fabric of our law. Vying for the highest office in the land demands the highest level of patriotism and understanding of where our country has come from and where it is going. In this process, the rule of law and constitutionalism must be upheld by all.

This country demands the highest level of discernment from our political elite, especially those offering themselves for the highest office in the land as their actions can easily plunge our young democracy into oblivion.

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