Elections Dispatch ~ Is Uganda Ripe For An Egyptian Type Uprising?

Posted February 17, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 3,541 views


By Ronnie Mayanja | Editor, UNAA Times Online | The recent events in North Africa and the debate that followed on various media outlets left me imagining about the possibility of a similar revolution in Uganda. Egypt and Uganda shared alot in common, not only does the Nile start in Uganda on it’s way to the Mediterranean Sea, but also both countries have had strong military leaders who spent almost a quarter of a century in power.

What is perhaps interesting is that prior to the events that caused the departure of President Mubarak, his ruling party had won 90 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections an indication perhaps of the massive popularity he had enjoyed at the time of course until his regime started to crumble under the people’s revolution.

This Arab Revolution started in Tunisia and is now spreading like a bush fire as more Arab nations under autocratic rule are experiencing insurrections and mass protests from their citizens who are demanding political reform.

The case in Uganda is a little different. I have enjoyed reading pundit’s opinion pieces that doubted a similar set of events ever taking place in Uganda and below are the reasons why. You see Ugandans are a very docile community of people that sometimes will not question their leaders even when it is not in their best interest to remain silent. This on occasion has only given some of our political leaders the confidence and will to further abuse office and also cling onto power.

The other disturbing trend in Uganda’s politics is the failure of the so called elites to participate in politics. This has stifled debate in parliament and it is no wonder that some legislators are known to sleep and never utter a word during proceedings and their constituents can never recall such MPs largely because of the culture of vote buying and material inducements that keep political opponents out of contention.

Compare it with Uganda of pre-1966; the outcome would perhaps be different because then only the smartest and brightest Ugandans played an active role in politics. They debated issues and ideas and only crossed party lines if they felt their political ideal principles were different from their individual beliefs. Case in point is the alliances [KY-UPC] that were formed during this time, and are testimony of the vibrant political atmosphere Uganda enjoyed.

Statistically President Museveni has seen his support dwindle from the early 1990s, for example in 1996 he won by 75.5%, In 2001 he won by 69.3%, in 2006 this support further dropped to 59.2% a trend that perhaps shows that the general population was losing faith in the movement leadership. But some might argue that a win is a win hence the man carried the day, I wonder what the margin will be this time round?

But coupled with the above is the fact that there has been no major incidents of election violence reported to date. The fact that Uganda’s election campaigns have been conducted in relative peace is another testimony that perhaps Ugandans are not ready for an Egyptian type uprising.

Finally the existence of intelligence agencies and the fear of retribution from the Ugandan military that many have described as partisan too might scare off would be protesters as many fear being bundled off to detention centers/ safe houses. Overall poverty and the lack of the technological infrastructure [Internet access and cable television, the lack of a national power grid] would be among the reasons why an Egyptian type revolution would never happen in Uganda for at least the next 20 years me thinks!

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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