Uganda: Predictable results

Hopefully many of you have been thinking about Uganda recently what with all the election coverage… yes they took place last Friday and the results were officially announced on Sunday evening with President Museveni maintaining leadership.

Elections here also mean a public holiday, since many people travel back to their family towns and villages in order to vote at their registered polling stations. Despite this, general disorganization saw many peoples names excluded from the list even though they had previously voted from the same station… allegations of rigging? Plenty! Would the absence of rigging have changed the result? Probably not, since Museveni seems extremely popular with many people.

(St Denis students enjoying a day of holiday during the elections.)

When asked who they support, people tend to either love or hate Museveni (the National Resistance Movement). In the end he took 68% of the vote, with the next most popular candidate, Kizza Besigye (Forum for Democratic Change), taking 26%.  I have asked many people why they are voting for Museveni, when rural communities see virtually no public services (terrible roads, no running water, lack of healthcare etc) and allegations of corruption within his government are so rife! The answer: Ugandans have seen 30 years of peace since he was appointed Minister of defense after the toppling of Amin, and this is still the highest priority for many people, despite corruption and poverty.

(A Musoveni supporter manning her stall in the taxi park. Musoveni has been giving out free t shirts to supporters around the country.)

We still have rounds of local elections taking place over the next couple of weeks, and rural Ugandans see these candidates as the most important influence on their day to day lives. I’ve never seen people get so excited about a man in a suit! Unlike elections in the UK, the ballot paper gives voters the chance to vote for their constituents separately from the president and there is even a specifically elected female mp for every constituent mp (go go gender equality!). 

(Our very own project manager is running in the coming local elections.)

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