The first difference is term limits. In the US, President Obama is not running again because he has reached his term limit. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has been in office for 30 years and is running again. He has been the only president to serve a full term since Idi Amin. He has brought much stability in comparison, so many have wanted him to remain in power. But this time there is a strong opposition candidate, Kizza Bisegye. Some of my Ugandan friends actually believe that he should have won last time if the elections were free and fair. I don't know; I'm just learning about all of this.
While talking with some Ugandan friends, I realized that I had the privilege of growing up assuming that every vote counted and elections should and would be free and fair. Some of my friends here in Uganda have talked about fearing going to the polls. Many also believe that the election results may not actually reflect the votes. Even when I disagree with the results of elections in America, I am thankful for the privilege of having faith in the system. I'm thankful that I never feared that I was too unsafe to go to vote. I didn't know anyone who was killed in riots protesting the results of elections. I didn't ever fear going to cities where campaign rallies were happening. I even attended some. This has not been the experience of many of my friends here.
In the news about Uganda, you might read about riots and tear gas, but none of that is anywhere near us. We don't have a vote here and we don't have any reason to go into town. We have done enough shopping to stay in our rural village for the next few weeks. We are hours away from Kampala and have no plans to join any demonstrations. We feel very safe where we live in the middle of sugarcane fields and rural villages. Here is a photo of David on our front porch watching the sunset. Peaceful moments...
Our hope and prayer is that the elections will be free, fair and peaceful. I am reminded that my hope is not in political leaders or parties, but my hope is in the God who created and sustains the whole world.
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Psalm 20:7The God we trust is the God who loves his people so much that he sent his Son to take our sin upon himself to bring us into His family. We are in His hands. While we want to be wise in staying out of crowds and places where there might be riots, our ultimate hope is in the Lord.