World News: Trump may grab all the headlines but Uganda’s post-election trauma teaches us an important lesson
Since last year’s US Presidential election, Donald Trump has alleged fraud and claimed that the election has been stolen from him despite losing the vote by a margin of almost eight million people.
The doubts sown, lies told and tension incited by the President came to a head last week at the US Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the heart of US democracy.
These images were broadcast all around the world and demonstrated just how fragile democracy can be. But due to the strength of the US institutions, it will be easier to try to build back a sense of normalcy when Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday.
The US national guard have since been brought into Washington DC and federal agencies have begun prosecuting the insurrectionists; approximately 100 individuals are estimated to have been prosecuted and over 275 investigations are ongoing.
So while there is great anger in the US from both sides, the US will recover and the attention should be on solidifying democratic nations and institutions throughout the world. But the message it is sending out is difficult to reconcile.
In Uganda, there is a febrile political atmosphere in the aftermath of their recent Presidential elections.
President Yoweri Museveni has extended his grip on power after 35 years to win a sixth term in office.
But Bobi Wine, the Ugandan pop star turned politician was placed under house arrested on Saturday after the opposition candidate alleged widespread fraud in the vote.
It has been claimed that Museveni won 59% of the vote with his challenger picking up just 34% which is the President’s lowest share since becoming President in 1986.
Wine, a popular figure in Uganda, dismissed early results showing Museveni’s victory. He has stated that he has video evidence showing fraud and violence in the election.
Also, the counting of the votes were suspicious as they were still transmitted across the country despite an internet blackout. The Ugandan electoral commission has been unable to explain this magic.
The fear now is that more unrest breaks out in the aftermath of frustration and confusion following the general election. More than 55 people were killed during the unrest in November after Wine was confirmed as a candidate. He has been detained and prevented from campaigning on multiple occasions.
Members of his party and other opposition parties have been arrested and attacked throughout the campaign. The Ugandan authorities have claimed that this was due to a breach of COVID-19 regulations because of large gatherings and rallies.
On the eve of the vote (last Thursday), at least 30 election observers were arrested with many claiming voting irregularities and fraud.
He has called on US President-elect Joe Biden to intervene in what could be a potentially dangerous situation.
This provides a snapshot of the challenges in the world today to move towards a society that has democracy at its heart for all people in all countries.
While Trump’s post-election psyco-drama may have seemed important in itself, its significance is more about how democracy is represented across the world rather than its direct impact on the United States.
Uganda provides a crucial lesson that the west must always do everything to demonstrate the power and strength of democracy and to help protect struggling democracies. This is a true test for the west.