By Frank Asiimwe Mulekwa
Politics is the art of governance, where individuals elected to represent the people use their knowledge, skills, and influence to make decisions that impact the lives of citizens. It is a noble profession that requires integrity, empathy, and the ability to listen to others’ perspectives.
However, some politicians tend to prioritize personal interests over the public good, resulting into a toxic environment characterized by corruption, hooliganism and disrespect.
I realized this at City Hall the administrative seat of Kampala, where some councilors have made it a habit to reduce council meetings to chaos; shouting and consequently disrupting proceedings.
Politicians who engage in disruptive behavior during meetings rather than participating in meaningful debate, undermine the democratic process by behaving in an unproductive and disrespectful manner. Such behavior is disrespectful to other attendees who are there to engage in civil discourse and to find solutions to important issues.
It is important for politicians as representatives of their constituents to engage in constructive dialogue and work towards finding solutions to problems rather than simply trying to make a scene for attention or to advance their own agenda for self-aggrandizement.
It is disheartening to see councilors elected to represent the people shouting at each other, abusing the Speaker and causing disruptions during council meetings. This behavior has become a regular occurrence and is unacceptable. Councilors are paid to engage in productive debates for the betterment of the city as opposed to engaging in uncivilized behavior.
Open and respectful debate is a cornerstone of democracy and politicians who engage in disruptive behavior undermine this important value. It is important for all individuals including politicians to respect the rules and norms of discourse, engage in meaningful dialogue and in a constructive manner. It is only through respectful and productive debate that we can find solutions to the complex challenges facing our societies.
The city of Kampala deserves leaders who are committed to serving the people and addressing their issues not those who engage in verbal or physical altercations during Council meetings. Such behavior not only undermines the democratic process but also erodes public trust and confidence in the leaders’ ability to govern effectively.
Disrespectful conduct in political settings sets a bad example for citizens especially the youth who look up to their leaders for guidance and inspiration. It encourages a culture of incivility where individuals with opposing views are regarded as enemies rather than partners in progress. This, in turn can lead to social unrest, political instability, or culminate into violence.
Leaders who exhibit civility and respect for others’ opinions create a conducive atmosphere that encourages collaboration, compromise, and consensus-building. They are more likely to find common ground with their colleagues, work towards shared goals, and deliver results that benefit their constituents. This is especially important in a diverse city like Kampala where there are competing interests and perspectives that require careful consideration and accommodation.
The politics of hooliganism and disrespect should be discouraged in Kampala and all other cities.
Leaders should lead by example and demonstrate civility, respect, and empathy in their interactions with others. This will create a more harmonious and productive political environment where citizens can trust their leaders to act in their best interests
Frank Asiimwe Mulekwa is an NRM Cadre and Publicity Secretary for Rubaga – Kampala.