President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s incumbent President, still occupies a lowly and humble 6th position on the list of Africa’s longest-serving dictators, with the five leaders ahead of him being;
- Congo’s, Denis Sassou Nguesso who has been president for 31 years
- Cameroon’s, Paul Biya who has been president for 32 years
- Zimbabwe’s, Robert Mugabe who has been president for 35 years
- Angola’s, Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has been president for 36 years
- Equitorial Guinea’s, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who has been president for 36 years
He seems however very intent in remaining in the running for the top spot on what should be an infamous list as Uganda prepares for her scheduled February 18th elections. Preident Museveni runs against seven opposition candidates in a bid to secure what will be his fifth term if he succeeds. He had won the legal right to take part in the elections when he was successful in his campaign to lift constitutional term limits in 2005 ahead of the 2006 elections.
Of the seven opposition candidates, only two seem to pose any semblance of a threat to the president, one of which is Kizza Besigye who has run against President Museveni during three successive past presidential elections. The second major candidate is Amama Mbabazi who had served as the country’s prime minister from 2011 through to 2014 before being dismissed by the president upon discovery of his Presidential aspirations. A candidate is required to win 50% plus one vote to be declared as the winner, or face a run off with the second ranked candidate within 30 days.
The voters are mainly concerned with the high unemployment rate, corruption and quality of public services, things that the three main candidates have highlighted in their various campaigns as priorities. For much wider election considerations, the parliamentary seats which number 418, after the creation of 43 new constituencies in 2015, will be determined via a first-past-the-post system, with some seats reserved for the disabled, women and other groups.
A lot of reports mostly stemming from Human Rights Network – Uganda and international group, Human Rights Watch have not depicted the Presidential campaigns to have been conducted on a level playing field. There’s apparently been disruption of opposition rallies over allegations that they were not sanctioned and restriction of the oppositions access to media.
With all this, it’s really no wonder that President Museveni is widely expected to win his re-election bid and chalk up another 5 years to his already garnered 30, but of course as President Museveni himself said while stating his pan-African agenda to have East Africa united; “You are just here with tribalism, with religion, falling down on your knees instead of standing up so that’s why I am here to see whether I can help you and escort you…”