Uganda: July 1, 2000


: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni engineered a referendum to endorse his "no-party" system of government in Uganda. 91 percent of the voters nixed a multiparty system. (4.3 million voted for Museveni's position, 442,000 against.) However, "no-party" looks increasingly like "one-party." The voter turnout was right at 51 percent. The vote took place June 29. Along with Ghana's Jerry Rawlings, Museveni has been one of sub-Saharan Africa's more interesting and progressive "strongmen." However, Museveni's resistance to returning Uganda to multi-party democracy doesn't bode well. Museveni originally insisted on "no parties" in 1986 as a means of preventing tribal conflict and sectarian (Muslim versus Christian) violence. Despite the "no party" veneer, Museveni's "National Movement" (which grew out of his National Resistance Movement guerrilla organization) essentially operates as a party. There are three political parties in existence: the Democratic Party (DP), the Ugandan People's Congress (UPC), and the Conservative Party (CP). These three parties had urged a boycott of the vote. One UPC member said that the 50 percent turnout was a victory for those pressing for a boycott.


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