Backgrounder: Key political events in Uganda after independence


Ugandans will head to the polls on Thursday to elect a new president and legislators.

Over 15.2 million people, who are above 18 years as stipulated in the country’s laws, are expected at the polls organized by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission.

The following are the key political events that have occurred in the east African country since it gained independence from British colonial rule in 1962.

On October 9, 1962, Uganda gained its dependence from Britain after 68 years of colonial rule.

The country enjoyed economic and political stability until 1966 when its Constitution was abrogated by Prime Minister Milton Obote after a dispute with Edward Mutesa, the president then.

This marked the beginning of the country’s over 40 year conflicts that left thousands dead and others homeless, leave alone a dilapidated economy.

During the 40-year civil unrest, six governments were changed unconstitutionally. This included a coup by military strongman Idi Amin in 1971.

After contested elections in 1980, the country’s current President Yoweri Museveni waged a guerilla war in 1981.

Museveni came into power in 1986 and embarked on implementing macro-economic policies.

Shortly after taking power, Museveni faced an over two-decade long rebellion in the northern part of the country that left tens of thousands of people dead and over two million others homeless.

In 1995, the country promulgated a new Constitution replacing the one that was made in 1967.

In 1996, the country held its first election since 1980. Museveni won the elections.

In 2001, the country again held elections which Museveni won although there were some allegations of vote rigging.

In 2005, the country restored multiparty politics after a 25- year ban.

In the same year, the country’s Constitution was amended, paving the way for Museveni to run again.

In 2006, the government held a peace negotiations with the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in a bid to end the two decade long insurgency in the northern part of the country.

Although the peace process collapsed in 2008, the rebel outfit was flashed out of the country by the military.

In 2011, Uganda held another election which Museveni won.

In the Thursday poll Museveni faces off with two main rivals, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change.

Besigye contested against Museveni in the previous three elections, in 2011, 2006 and 2001. In all these elections, Besigye alleged malpractices and in two, 2006 and 2001, he ran to the Supreme Court seeking for annulment.

Although Court accepted that there were malpractices, it argued that the malpractices were not substantial to annul the elections.

Recent opinion polls have predicted that Museveni will win the elections although at a lower margin of slightly above 50 percent compared to previous elections.

Shanghai Daily

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