How do you not vote for a man who ensured you had portable water? This was probably the question on Patrick Okumu-Ringa’s mind after he lost his seat at the Ugandan Parliament in a recent by-election. Okumu-Ringa, who represented Nebbi Municipality in northern Uganda, therefore, sealed the boreholes he sunk and with a smirk on his face, he told Ugnadan newspaper New Vision that he had no regrets.
“I am hurt, but I will reconcile with residents and assemble the boreholes. For now, let them look for water elsewhere. Our people are not appreciative. All I wanted from them was votes. I have educated so many children, but all they tell me is that I have done nothing,” he said.
Media reports say Okumu-Ringa drilled 10 boreholes in different wards in his municipality where residents have gotten water “for free”. However, when he needed their votes, he asked twice and they denied him both times. After losing the primary elections of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the country’s ruling party, he opted to run as an independent candidate in the main elections, but he lost again, getting just 1,270 votes out of the 9,940 votes cast.
In Africa, where years of poor leadership have made people lose faith in their leaders, people vying for elective positions often result to charity schemes, and sometimes, outright buying of votes, to ensure they are elected into office. Often times, the people who voted are left regretting their choice, as their expectations of a better life, which they believe democracy should bring, are never met.