Last Friday, it was reported on various social media platforms- Whatsapp and Facebook mainly that a presidential guild aspirant at Uganda Christian University (UCU) had been attacked by armed goons who tried to kill her and in the photos posted it was visible that she looked distressed but further scrutiny would have indicated that it wasn’t her blood and at the same time she hadn’t been the target.
Luckily for us the candidate was safe and even though her neighbor was hurt, they were alive and isn’t that more than some people get for attempts made on their lives.
At first thought Prisca Amongin flashed through my thoughts, I almost accredited her for the attempt at her rival’s life, just then I snapped out it and realized I was being silly in the early hours of the morning.
For my part in all this misery, the photos were circulated at around 7:30am at a time when we should ideally be thanking the man in the clouds for another daylight seen but here we were worried about a fellow student and aspiring leader whose current state none of us knew.
I couldn’t help feeling sympathy for the candidate, all that trauma she must have been going through, and then the saddening reality that the timing would have been perfect for her political interests and would at the same time incriminating for her opponent dawned on me and gave me a scare.
If a single grain of her hair had been dislodged Moreen Akatukunda then in that short time of circulated rumors and hearsay when none of us knew the truth all blame would have found their way to her rival Prisca Amongin’s camp.
But the sad news forgotten , this week as I write am propelled forward by the unfortunate fact that we live in an era where “sympathy” beats ideology and even sometimes action.
The extent to which whoever posted Akatukunda’s photos was willing to go just for the sake of raising sympathy for her is alarming, but I would be harsher than I would want credit for if I were to claim that this trend of sympathy votes has begun with Moreen’s camp.
A couple of years ago, four to be precise, Proscovia Alengot Oromait, a lady 19 year old was elected to parliament as woman member of parliament for Usuk county in the aftermath of her father’s untimely demise, about five months later Florence Nebanda followed suit in parliament this time in Butaleja also replacing her deceased sister former member of Cerinah Nebanda.
Much as these were different individuals from their deceased kin, the fact that they had lost they beloved who were undoubtedly popular in their areas of service alone played to their political aspirations, the end story was that they won- impressively at that.
One thing was clear in all these victories, the fact that these additions to parliament were widely appreciated not only from a feminist perspective but also from the youthful circles; finally we were getting more representatives in parliament, but were we getting better leaders- I reckon few of us cared.
Getting back to the whole issue of sympathy whose scope is wider than i intend to exhaust, the attempt at sympathy by whoever it was that made an attempt at borrowing some sympathy for Akatukunda backfired.
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) fraternity, including spin stars from the rival Amongin camp lashed out at her, tearing apart the image she had so neatly crafted until now was crashed.
As people who respect her we were pushed to the wall, between deciding what to believe and what to leave out. For the sake of subjectivity I held on to the notion that in spite of what any one may say, she’s still a person I vest my respect into, but the facts were more nagging than a 10 paged course work that is due in ten minutes yet you’ve only managed half a page.
Yes her vicinity had been attacked and her neighbor injured, SORRY about that, we felt her pain, any humane person would but she was safe all the much reason to celebrate an extension to her tenure on earth, pray that her neighbor gets well and move on, but instead whoever intended to gain the Moreen camp sympathy had taken her neighbor’s plight and blown it out of proportion for her political benefit, by the time the story got to RedPepper, the student fraternity were not very friendly and rightfully so.
For one thing Akatukunda’s performance in the recently held debate that was marred with controversy on Tuesday had been far from perfect, many sections of her faculty (Law) were disappointed by her display as her rival Amongin who is from the business faculty emerged the better debater and even with the ongoing booing and rowdiness of crowd, was able to win over new supporters, most of which are former guild leaders-which means nothing significant as we head closer to voting day.
Yet again this is not the worst thing that has happened in UCU politics, recent years have seen worse scenarios which have given hype to the phrase “politics is a dirty game”.
Last year alone, Joel Israel Kidandaire an aspiring candidate had more than five hundred words dedicated to him by the RedPepper tabloid explaining his sexual exploits; a fact that undoubtedly played a significant role in increasing his unpopularity, the same happened to his rival Pius Nyikirize who was labeled “illuminati” for all its worth.
But even with all these misdemeanors, there can still be hope a day that as a University we can move past dirty politics, and vote ideas, not tears, exemplary leaders not the monetary kind, but its “sympathy politics” that dims the light of this hope and unfortunately our national and regional leaders haven’t shown us better, go out and vote for the student whose ideas appeal the most to you, and you can watch them tussle it out today on Urban Tv!!!