By Our Reporter
The heavy military deployments and other cities country wide is the talk by all Ugandans after the government blocked all social media going into Thursday’s elections.
On Jan. 14, millions of Ugandans will vote in the country’s presidential elections. To many, the day may seem like politics as usual as incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) again seeks to extend his rule.
This is the first time in the past two decades that Kizza Besigye of the leading opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), is not challenging Museveni. Besigye has run in each of the last four presidential elections, and claims to have been arrested 43 times since 2000 for leading the opposition again Museveni.
Wine remains the opposition front-runner on a slate of 10 candidates challenging Museveni, despite having faced multiple assassination attempts, repeated arrests and police intimidation. Ugandan security forces have killed dozens of his supporters since his transition from musician to a member of parliament in 2017.
While Museveni has typically relied on election violence and repression to defeat his opponents, he escalated repressive tactics during the current election cycle, even using the coronavirus pandemic to justify coercion against political opponents and limit political campaigning.
Since independence in 1962, Uganda has not had a single peaceful democratic transition of power. Rather, power was transferred through a series of coups until 1986, when Museveni and his National Resistance Movement took control. Leaders around the world heralded him as a revolutionary and reformer, and many Ugandans thought Museveni might bring in a new era of democratic politics.