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Uganda elections 2021: What you deserve to know

Face masks showing presidential candidates in Uganda - Bobi Wine, left, and Yoweri Museveni, right
Bobi Wine, left, is amongst challengers to long-time chief Yoweri Museveni, correct

On Thursday Ugandans will vote in a usual election after a campaign marked by way of violence which has killed dozens of individuals.

President Yoweri Museveni is seeking his sixth elected time period in office after 35 years in vigor. The 76-yr-old faces 10 challengers, most above all the pop famous person-turned-baby-kisser Bobi Wine.

Human rights groups have accused protection forces of the usage of excessive force to wreck up opposition rallies during the crusade. however the govt says the potent measures are essential to ensure individuals conform to a ban on huge crowds imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

here are the five stuff you need to be aware of concerning the essential vote:

1. the man who needs forty years in vigor

President Museveni is without doubt one of the longest-serving presidents in Africa. He and his country wide Resistance movement got here to energy in 1986 on the end of a 5-year warfare, and have led Uganda ever considering the fact that.

His supporters compliment him for bringing relative peace and prosperity to the country, and in specific for his policies on health. He helped limit the spread of HIV, and more currently his harsh lockdown – which closed faculties and enterprise, banned automobile circulation and imposed obligatory public mask use in may also – is credited with tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

in response to Johns Hopkins institution, Uganda has recorded fewer than 40,000 infections and around simply 300 deaths from the sickness.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda wearing a hat on a visit to France
If he wins the election President Museveni could be on route for 40 years in power

but whereas he was as soon as hailed within the West as one of the new era of African leaders, his critics accuse him of changing into yet another authoritarian chief.

Mr Museveni has no distinct successor inside his party, and in 2017 signed a legislation removing a presidential age limit of 75, allowing him to run once again for the presidency.

Uganda's general election. 14 January 2021 [ 18.1m people have registered to vote ] [ 11 candidates are running for president ],[ 1 of the candidates is a woman, Nancy Kalembe ],[ 5 elected terms so far for Yoweri Museveni ],[ 50% plus 1 votes needed for a candidate to avoid a run-off election ],[ 529 MPs will also be elected ], Source: Source: Uganda electoral commission, Image: A woman in a mask in front of a mural
Uganda’s regularly occurring election. 14 January 2021 [ 18.1m people have registered to vote ] [ 11 candidates are running for president ],[ 1 of the candidates is a woman, Nancy Kalembe ],[ 5 elected terms so far for Yoweri Museveni ],[ 50% plus 1 votes needed for a candidate to avoid a run-off election ],[ 529 MPs will also be elected ], source: source: Uganda electoral commission, graphic: a woman in a masks in entrance of a mural

He has viewed off a number of challengers to his rule over the years, specially long-time opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who became arrested a large number of instances and decided now not to run again for the presidency in 2021.

while Mr Museveni continues a big assist base, mainly in rural areas, he is dealing with expanding opposition over rising inequality and his inflexible handle over the country.

2. The pop star challenger

one in all 10 candidates challenging him for the presidency this yr is musician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, customary through the stage identify Bobi Wine.

Affectionately said because the “ghetto president”, the 38-yr-ancient grew to be an East African musical superstar within the early 2000s earlier than switching to politics and successful a seat in parliament in 2017.

Bobi Wine is seen as the largest problem to Mr Museveni’s rule and has mobilised many young americans who have not prior to now been concerned in politics. He has sharply criticised the president during the past and accused him of “fearing the individuals”.

The president has now not taken this problem evenly. He has accused Bobi Wine of being a foreign agent of those “who do not like the balance and independence of Uganda” and spoke of that opposition figures are deceptive younger people to get involved in violence on the campaign trail.

Bobi Wine has been arrested a few times given that he grew to become involved in politics. He has spoken of a “revolution” against Mr Museveni. He has posted on Twitter the use of the hashtag “WeAreRemovingADictator”.

3. The technology gap

a part of Bobi Wine’s recognition comes down to his age. At 38, he is simply half as ancient as President Museveni, in a single of the youngest international locations on the planet.

in response to the CIA World Factbook Uganda has the 2d-lowest median age worldwide, of simply 15.7 – only Niger is younger.

A Bobi Wine supporter at a presidential rally in Uganda, November 2020
Bobi Wine has a large aid base amongst younger voters
Museveni supporters at a rally, December 2020
however Mr Museveni remains a favored determine throughout the nation

The “ghetto president” grew up in a slum within the capital, Kampala. His historical past and his efforts to advertise social justice in his nation via his track and as a baby-kisser have endeared him to this younger, more city generation.

but Bobi Wine has also surprised authorities by means of drawing massive crowds of supporters in rural areas – concept to be a bastion of support for President Museveni.

four. Covid crackdown

Tensions are high, and the crusade has been marred by using serious violence, which has left dozens killed and tons of greater arrested.

officials have mentioned measures brought in to handle the Covid-19 pandemic for their efforts to smash up political gatherings. but Human Rights Watch has alleged that safety forces are using these rules “as a pretext to violate rights and clamp down on the opposition and the media”.

Protests after the arrest of Bobi Wine in November 2020
This election campaign has been marked by a wave of political violence

Bobi Wine himself was arrested remaining November for allegedly breaching Covid measures. His detention sparked protest which led to a wave of arrests and left dozens useless, broadly speaking allegedly shot by means of the safety forces.

Afterwards, protection Minister Elly Tumwine pointed to the incontrovertible fact that 11 security personnel had been injured and mentioned “police have a right to shoot you and kill you in case you reach a definite level of violence”.

“can i repeat? Police have a right to shoot you and also you die for nothing…. do it at your own risk.”

Bobi Wine has in view that taken to donning a bullet-proof vest and helmet on the campaign path.

on the end of last year he halted his campaign after a number of his group had been injured as safety forces dispersed one among his political rallies. He later informed broadcaster CNN he had survived a number of assassination makes an attempt.

5. Uganda’s function within the region – and past

a country of greater than forty two million people, Uganda is surrounded by means of Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It has one of the crucial maximum refugee populations global, internet hosting some 1.four million americans from neighbouring international locations.


Some are observing the political unrest in the country with challenge, and fret about what could happen after the vote. There has not ever been a peaceable transfer of energy in Uganda and it is not clear what would happen if Mr Museveni were to lose, and what the defense force would do.

The president introduced a shake-up of the armed forces in November, bringing within the former head of Uganda’s operations in Somalia, Maj Gen Paul Lokech, as deputy inspector customary of police to coordinate safety forces around the capital all the way through the election period.

the european Union has chosen no longer to send observers to the election this 12 months – reportedly as a result of Ugandan officers have disregarded information from previous observers to make polling more reasonable – that means there might be much less overseas scrutiny.