Magazine article New African

Uganda: Hope at Last! the Political Landscape in Uganda Is Set for Significant Change after the Government Announced the Removal of All Restrictions on Political Party Activity. by September, the Constraints That Have Greatly Inhibited Opposition Politics since January 1986, Will Be Lifted. Tom Okello Reports

Magazine article New African

Uganda: Hope at Last! the Political Landscape in Uganda Is Set for Significant Change after the Government Announced the Removal of All Restrictions on Political Party Activity. by September, the Constraints That Have Greatly Inhibited Opposition Politics since January 1986, Will Be Lifted. Tom Okello Reports

Article excerpt

The announcement to remove all restrictions on political party activity came in the same week that the news on presidential and parliamentary elections was made public. The elections (both presidential and parliamentary) will be held on the same day in either "February or March 2006", but the introduction of political pluralism will pave the way for what many hope will be the country's first true multiparty elections since President Yoweri Museveni came to power--18 long years ago.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Since 1986, opposition parties have been severely confined under Museveni's "Movement" system in which sanctions were placed on multi-partyism ostensibly to stabilise the country after years of conflict. During these 18 years, political parties were not allowed to open offices or operate outside the capital, Kampala. The easing of the regulations is part of a wider process designed to prepare the country for a smooth political transition, entitled "Roadmap to 2006".

According to the minister of justice, Janaat Mukwaya, once parliament has approved the proposed cabinet amendments to the Political Parties and Organisations Act (PPOA) enacted in 2002, all parties will by law be allowed freedom to operate.

The government plans to abolish Sections 18 and 19 of the PPOA after they were nullified by the Constitutional Court (CC) in December 2002. The court's decision was made as a result of a petition submitted by the long-running president of the opposition Democratic Party, Dr. Paul Ssemogerere.

On 21 June this year, the government retracted its appeal against the CC's ruling and announced the amendments would be put before parliament in September. Of most significance is Section 19 which prevents alternative political systems from functioning at the same time as the "Movement".

Section 18 currently impedes parties from canvassing for or against an individual candidate, or allowing campaigners to use colours, symbols and slogans.

Meanwhile, in a further significant development, the CC on 25 June annulled the results of the referendum on political systems held in June 2000. Of particular importance is that the ruling brings into question the legality and legitimacy of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government headed by President Museveni.

The referendum, which the government won by a country mile, saw Ugandans vote in favour of continuing with Museveni's Movement system. However, it was boycotted by opposition parties amid claims that it had been rigged before voting had commenced.

The CC's ruling provoked a stinging rebuke from Museveni who responded angrily by claiming that the decision was "totally unacceptable" and accused the court of attempting to usurp the power of the people. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.