Let’s all work for political tolerance

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Let’s all work for political tolerance
Let’s all work for political tolerance

Africa-PressUganda. At this time when everyone seems to be a politician, there is a lot of conflict and intolerance in this electioneering period. Everyone can advise, comment and abuse anyone for his or her own political opinion.

Yes, politics is something about which virtually everyone has some ideas and it affects the lives of everyone. Politics is ubiquitous in human circumstances. Some people generally associate politics with dirty tricks, scheming and power relationships and conflict at any level.

Therefore, people talk of politics in the family, students’ community, and trade unions, among others. Politics deals with events that happen around the decision making centres of government. Uganda is a rainbow collection of tribes and tongues.

The rainbow in the sky is a thing of beauty. But we seem blind to the beauty in our tribes and tongues. It is true that political life often involves confrontation and this is perfectly normal.

Institutions of democracy such as Parliament provide the channels to make confrontation between opinions possible. But worse, the gun is beginning to rule and ruin our country.

The government’s intimidation and harassment of journalists and civil society groups is having a “chilling effect” on the political debate as the country prepares to elect leaders on January 14.

The government is trying to stifle freedom of expression by putting pressure on media houses to restrain some of their journalists. While the government has a history of repression, still the “brazen crackdown on human rights has clearly escalated this vice to a new low.

This situation is increasingly playing out in the country in the lead up to voting day this Thursday. Only that this time around, the ferocity and the speed with which violence has been unleashed, especially against members of the Opposition, is what should concern everyone. Such challenges usually arises whenever some leaders in all positions, overstay their welcome.

Political tolerance means accepting and respecting the basic rights and civil liberties of persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one’s own.

All citizens, including political leaders, have the responsibility to practise political tolerance both in their words and actions. Thus, political tolerance is a key principle of democracy.

Underlying democracy is the acceptance and respect of each other. Democratic life is both the right to differ as well as the acceptance of such difference by all. Democracy implies respect for the plurality of views and virtues of dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts.

Can we develop a culture of political tolerance? A culture of tolerance involves debate and dynamic exchanges of opinions and arguments, whereby people can learn from others, get closer to the truth, and benefit from a vital public life.

For example, if we have participated in several electoral processes in the last 30 years, why have we failed to learn to live amicably with our dear political opponents?

Cultural and religious leaders should contribute towards the overall democratic learning and stability of the country in a democratic process and upholding the civil liberties, including freedom of expression and freedom to assemble of all groups.

Meaudmajor Majwala, [email protected]

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