PRESS RELEASE: African Rabbi Peacefully Fighting for True Democracy – Force Used By Opponent To Secure Victory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mbale, Uganda, March 1, 2011—At the behest of his Jewish, Muslim and Christian supporters, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, a native of Uganda, is peacefully challenging the official results in the election to national parliament. The frontrunner leading up to the election, Rabbi Sizomu lost in the official count to the opponent Yahaya Gudoi the candidate from the ruling party.
Sizomu’s party agreed that he has a strong case and is providing legal counsel to seek a court injunction to stop the corruption. According to Ugandan law they have month to contest to the election results. Rabbi Sizomu and his supporters are collecting evidence documenting the ballot stuffing, violence, and other irregularities. Rabbi Sizomu feels confident in his challenge; “we already have over 100 witnesses to testify about corruption and violence,” including “armed men threatening voters and poll observers, and ballot stuffing.” Like others committed to true democracy in Africa, Rabbi Sizomu and his followers are non-violent in their attempts to change the political system.
Sizomu is proud that he built a coalition of Christians, Muslims and Jews to support his vision of religious tolerance as the foundation of the future of this central African nation. He won favor with the residents of Bungokho North Mbale district by focusing on accountability and development. “We are hopeful that justice will prevail, for the Abayudaya and for all Ugandans,” said Diane Tobin the Director of the American based NGO, Be’chol Lashon that sponsored Sizomu’s rabbinic training in the US.
Be’chol Lashon works closely with Sizomu to foster development among the Abayudaya and the general community by distributing mosquito nets, digging wells, and building the Tobin Health Center which attends to the medical needs of all Ugandans without regard to religion. The experience and the connections Sizomu made doing this work became the basis for his campaign.
Sizomu knows that there is much work ahead but he has faith not only in God but in the people of Uganda. Having grown up under the reign of Idi Amin, he understands the importance of democracy and using political power to enhance development, peace and friendship. “I could have chosen to stay in the United States,” he explains, “but here in Africa we have important work to do and we must do it together.”