On Friday, Feb. 18, Uganda will hold its presidential election, to elect a leader to serve a five-year term in this East African country. In the days and weeks following, lower level leaders will also be voted into office. This process will continue into March.
Having never been in a foreign country during a time of elections, I am not sure what to expect. It seems African countries are notorious for coups, civil wars, and unstable elections. Recent examples are Egypt and Libya in the ousting of their leaders. But, the violence after Kenya's 2008 elections surprised onlookers, and sadly resulted in approximately 1300 deaths as well as 650,000 Kenyans being displaced. It seems disorder and upheaval can be quickly sparked on this vast continent.
Smooth and peaceful elections have been a regular item of prayer for the Shepherd's Heart family for a number of months. We are taking necessary precautions, and continuing to trust the Lord in the days ahead.
In the town of Jinja, where I am staying until after the elections when I can return to the island, things are relatively quiet. Vehicles carrying supporters of various parties and candidates can be heard blasting music or their "propaganda" as they cruise the streets. I have heard the country's police and military forces are ready and on stand-by in case any uprising occurs. However, the campaigns leading up to this year's election have reportedly been more peaceful than in the past, so hopefully that is a good sign.
Current president, Yoweri Museveni has been in power in Uganda since January 1986, when he seized control and was then sworn in as president three days later. The first national elections under Museveni were held in 1996, with subsequent elections taking place in 2001 and 2006.
As a "mzungu" ("white person") I am not supposed to have an opinion on the elections and who takes power. However, there are definite changes that need to be made, like stamping out government corruption that hampers and hinders government and services at all levels. However, I am grateful for the religious freedom that has been upheld under Museveni's rule.
For whoever assumes the highest seat in Uganda, it is my prayer that this individual will be God-fearing and will make serving the people of Uganda his or her highest priority.
Will you join me in praying for continued peace in Uganda, in the days and weeks ahead?
"He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars." - Daniel 2:21