Uganda Election 2021: What’s at stake?

Ugandans begin voting in fiercely contested elections on Thursday, with President Yoweri Museveni winning his sixth term and continuing to rule the country for 35 years, including major opposition candidate Bobi Wine Decide if you will be left by one of your 10 rivals. , Turned from a rapper to a legislator.

Unexpectedly competitive voting, despite fierce attempts by the government to suppress opposition, has received worldwide attention as a test of how democracy will take hold in countries accustomed to dictatorship. I’m collecting. The election is the fourth in East African countries since the reinstatement of the multi-party system in 2005, 20 years after Mr. Musebeni first came to power and cracked down on competing parties.

Voting will also take place months after the government introduced strict rules to curb the coronavirus pandemic. This kept the number of confirmed cases below 38,000, but said human rights groups were used to crack down on critics and limit political rallies.

In campaigns featuring violence, murder, and arbitrary arrests, observers are aware of delays in ballot delivery, voter threats, irregular ballot counting, and anxiety that may occur in the coming days. I will. Election results are expected late Saturday.

Over 18 million voters register for elections and vote for presidential, parliamentary, and local representatives. Over the next five years, 11 presidential candidates are vying for Uganda’s leadership, and candidates must win at least 50% of the final vote.

The most prominent of these is the incumbent Mr. Musebeni, a former rebel who came to power in January 1986 and has ruled the country with a handful of iron ever since. 76-year-old Museveni is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.

His main rival is Mr. Wine, a 38-year-old musician who was elected to Parliament in 2017. Mr. Wine, whose real name is Robert Cagranie, has long used his music to mourn the state of the country under Mr. Museveni and to activate the youth vote to get him out of his seat. I am aiming. During the campaign, security forces beat Mr. Wein and shed tear gas, and he was charged in court for ignoring the rules of the coronavirus.

In early January, he filed a petition with the International Criminal Court for approving a wave of violence against politicians and human rights lawyers, including an attempt by Mr. Musebeni’s government to kill him.

Other candidates for the election were also targeted, including Patrick Amriat, who represents the party of the Forum for Democratic Change. Authorities have beaten and detained Mr Amriat several times, including the day he submitted his candidacy documents in November.

Former banker and newscaster Nancy Karenbe Linda is the only female candidate to run for president.

Since Uganda’s independence from Britain in 1962, there has been no peaceful transfer of power. When Museveni seized the reins against the backdrop of an armed uprising in 1986, he held years of colonialism in his government, and the competitive politics of a country that had endured dictatorship and lawlessness under both control. Promised to promote the cause of. Milton Obote and Idi Amin.

But in the decades since then, Museveni and the ruling National Resistance Movement have been sticking to power through political prosecution of opposition figures, undermining independent media and civil society.

“The political opponents were” foreign agents “funded by outsiders, who were selfish, immoral, and punished against the interests of the Ugandans,” Museveni’s government said. History professor Derek R. Peterson said. African studies at the University of Michigan.

When the elections took place, it was full of fraud and fraudulent allegations.

In 2018, Museveni signed a law abolishing the president’s age limit of 75. Critics said the move allowed them to seek re-election this year. Opposition lawmakers and lawyers disputed the amendment, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2019.

Since the campaign began in early November, journalists have faced harassment and beatings from security forces as they picked up opposition candidates. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, authorities have introduced strict accreditation rules for reporters and deported at least one foreign crew member.

Opposition candidates, including Mr. Wein, said authorities had blocked them from appearing on radio stations to talk to the general public.

“Social media has provided applicants with a potential way to reach a large number of potential voters,” said technology’s role in African elections, as rallying is restricted due to pandemic restrictions. Jamie Hitchen, an independent researcher who studied, said.

But the government soon found a way to undermine reach on those platforms. In December, the government requested Google to block 14 YouTube channels, most of which are related to opposition. Museveni also announced this week that Facebook has ordered Facebook to be blocked in the countryside after deleting fake accounts related to his reelection campaign.

When voters went to polls on Thursday Internet connection remains down across Uganda The government has ordered carriers to block access to social media platforms and online messaging applications.

For a long time, Museveni and his party have cast themselves as breakwaters against the violence and return to political conflict that shaped Uganda in the 1970s and 1980s. But with more than 75% of the population under the age of 30, many young people no longer “live in the shadows of history,” said Professor Peterson of the University of Michigan.

“They have different aspirations, different fears, and different ambitions than former voters,” he added.

One of the most important concerns of young people is the issue of work. According to the World Bank, about 700,000 Ugandans reach working age each year, but only 75,000 new jobs are created each year. Many are also dissatisfied with the corruption that has been prevalent in Mr Museveni’s government for decades, with better infrastructure and improved public services, including better educational opportunities and affordable health care. Longing for service.

Previous elections in Uganda have been plagued by irregularities, along with ballot stuffing, voter threats, and reports of voter fraud. Voters across the country have previously been denied the ability to cast ballots, and officials say their name was not found in the voter registry. Voting for opposition bases, including the capital Kampala, was also delivered very late in the past.

The effectiveness of this election has already been questioned after observers, including the United States, withdrew due to lack of accreditation.There is also a report of Electronic voter identification system failure Due to internet shutdown.

Uganda Election 2021: What’s at stake?

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