Ugandan President seeks sixth term after campaign of repression and violence

The population of Uganda is called tomorrow thursday at urns for some presidential and parliamentary elections in which the current head of state, Yoweri Museveni, will try to get a sixth term after a Bell marked by violent incidents and the complaints from the main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, by repression against his followers and journalists.

Museveni, a leading figure in the Ugandan resistance against the regimes of Idi Amin and Milton Obote, came to power in 1986 following the capture of Kampala by his National Resistance Army, which removed from power Tito Okello, who a year earlier had led a coup that ended Obote’s mandate, marked by abuses and a brutal repression against the opposition.

That image of a liberator boosted his popularity during his first years in power, in which he was also one of the main leaders of the movement that emerged on the continent as reply to the decolonization process, in which many rebels rose up against the dictators who remained in charge of their countries after the withdrawal from the metropolises.

However, in Uganda The first elections under his leadership were not held until 1996, when he prevailed over Paul Ssemogerere. Since then, he has revalidated his mandate every five years, although the rejection of his figure has increased, especially young people, in the face of what they see as an attempt to hold on to the position, something he denounced during his fight against Amin and Obote.

Changes to perpetuate power

In this sense, Museveni has benefited from a number of constitutional changes in order to continue running to the polls, including the withdrawal of the two-term limit in 2005, when the country opened up to multi-party democracy, and the elimination in 2017 of the 75-year age limit to occupy the presidency, which paved the way for way to a new candidacy.

To these criticisms have been added in recent years the denunciations of the opposition for its growing authoritarianism, the bad economic situation and increased corruption and the nepotism -his wife is the Minister of Education and his son is the head of the Special Forces Command, an elite unit in charge of the president’s security-.

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On this occasion, the main opposition candidate it will be Kyagulanyand one popular singer known as Bobi Wine, who has managed to amalgamate part of the opposition and has won the support of a young generation that has spent their entire lives – about 75% of the population is under 35 years old – under the presidency of Museveni.

The electoral campaign has been characterized by tensions in which the security forces have detained the opposition candidates or their followers, in most cases appealing to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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