Uganda gets ready to vote in 2021
Uganda a landlocked country in East-Central Africa is a key geopolitical power into the stability and success of the region. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania making it an enviable king maker of who gets the lions share of their global trade business. The last general election was held in 2016.
The last general elections were held in Uganda on 18th February 2016 to elect the president and the parliament. Yoweri Museveni and Kizza Besigye, complained of rigging and violence at polling stations. According to the Electoral Commission, Museveni was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote and Besigye with 35 percent.
President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. Uganda is expected to hold a presidential election between January 10th 2021 and February 6th 2021. The Uganda Electoral Commission issued a press release banning public rallies for the 2021 political campaigns as part of the country’s COVID-19 containment measures. This caused an immediate protest especially among opposition-leaning political groups and civil society organizations. The commission will set the exact date of the election, for parliament and local governments, later this year.
The elections are supervised by the Electoral Commission of Uganda. The President of Uganda is elected using the two-round system, with candidates needing to receive at least 50% of the vote to be elected in the first round. President Yoweri Museveni from the National Resistance Movement has faced his long-time opposition candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) who is from National Unity Platform well known musician and leader of the People Power party, Bobi Wine formed an opposition alliance with Kizza Besigye, who now leads the people’s government, Kampala-based pressure group.
Violation of freedom of association, assembly and expression continue in Uganda under president Yoweri Museveni. Having received his nominations to vie for another term in what has been perceived to be a “scientific election” wherein social distancing guidelines will be observed. Uganda is going to conduct its first digital and mass media campaigns ahead of its 2021 general elections. The 2021 general elections are poised to fuel the traditional grievances and remain seen as election management crisis from the use of media to campaign. The ruling party has unrestricted access to the media. It is also assured of an uninterrupted internal electoral process. This is not the case for the opposition, which is often blocked and dispersed by police. This gives the incumbent a head start in which he can easily use state machinery to sway the vote to his advantage. Having seen Tanzania ban social media and bulk SMS’s on the eve of the elections, it will be no surprise that the same may happen in the “Pearl of Africa”.