Museveni Promises To Hand Over Power
Museveni promises to hand over power peacefully if he loses in 2016
His promise to hand over power!
President Museveni has promised to hand power peacefully if he loses in the 2016 election. While speaking to the media at a news conference held at Arua State Lodge this morning, the president also promised to respect the constitution in regard to the question of age.
In 2021, Museveni will not be eligible to run for president because he will have surpassed the constitutional age limit set at 75 years. However, with the support of a two thirds majority of MPs, this restriction can be lifted.
The people’s growing concern
Museveni was critical of sections of the elite and the opposition who are accusing him of clinging to power.
There is concern that many people will shun February’s presidential elections. They cite myriad issues. Some think voting won’t lead to leadership change, some that the elections are rigged. Others argue that the country’s leadership has failed to improve their lives.
What people think.
Eunice Namara, a social worker in Kampala, did not vote in the previous election and won’t do so this time. “There is no need,” she says. “Ugandans remain poor, and every time we vote nothing changes.”
Miriam Ahumuza, an MBA student at Makerere University, says: “Even if you vote, they will rig [the elections] and the same people will return.”
This frustration is shared by millions of Ugandans. In 2011, more than 5 million registered voters failed to turn out for the presidential elections.
In 1996 and 2001, when President Yoweri Museveni was still popular, voter turnout was 72.6% and 70.3% respectively. In 2006, it dropped to 69.7%, and in 2011 it fell to 59.3%. The number of eligible voters (those aged 18 and above) has been growing, and now stands at 15 million, up from 13 million in 2011.
In 2016, voter turnout is expected to be even lower according to some analysts. A fifth term for Museveni, extending his 30-year rule, is seen as almost inevitable.
Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, a citizen’s coalition member and director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, stresses that some Ugandans think elections “have not had an impact on the quality of life they need”.
“There is still no adequate healthcare, people’s incomes have not improved and unemployment is still problematic, but then elections always retain the same old leadership and this has made some Ugandans see voting as a waste of time,” said Sewanyana.
In next year’s polls, Museveni will face his long-time ally Amama Mbabazi, a lawyer whom he fired from his post as prime minister after Mbabazi declared he would stand against him.
Mbabazi, 66, was once Museveni’s main strategist. He orchestrated the removal of presidential term limits in Uganda’s constitution in 2005. His fallout with Museveni has been seen by many as a chance to end the current regime.
Mbabazi will stand alongside Kizza Besigye, the country’s main opposition figure, who has been the thorn in Museveni’s side for years. He was recently released from house arrest. Some pundits think Besigye’s presence could help push the election into a rerun if the process is fair.
A poll published in August by Research World International showed that 45% of Ugandans do not believe the electoral process can lead to power changing hands, while 32% don’t believe the elections will be free and fair.
The leaders of the electoral commission are appointed by Museveni. Despite numerous opposition calls for the officials to be appointed by an independent arm of government, such as the judiciary, nothing has changed.
There is also public concern about intimidation of Museveni’s opponents. Although Besigye has been released, soldiers remain outside his Kampala home. Both he and Mbabazi have been prevented from addressing rallies. Mbabazi has been arrested at least once in the past three months.
On 10 October, Ugandan police appeared to strip Zainab Fatuma Naigaga of the Forum for Democratic Change – Besigye’s party – when she tried to attend a rally with Besigye in the south-western district of Rukungiri. The party official’s arrest was condemned by human rights activists as “dehumanising”.
Museveni was involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Amin (1971–79) and Milton Obote (1980–85). With the notable exception of the north, President Museveni has brought relative stability and economic growth to a country that has endured decades of rebel activity and civil war. His tenure has also witnessed one of the most effective national responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In the mid to late 1990s, Museveni was fêted by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders. His presidency has been marred, however, by involvement in civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other Great Lakes region conflicts. Rebellion in the north by the Lord’s Resistance Army had perpetuated a drastic humanitarian emergency. Restrictions on political pluralism and a 2005 referendum and constitution change scrapping limits on presidential terms, enabling extension of his rule, have attracted recent concern from domestic commentators and the international community.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre who is passionate about tech, games, entertainment and lifestyle news. He enjoys writing about anime and many other topics.