Analysis of the 2011 elections and its implications

Originally published


Summary Report of ISS Public Seminar Organized by The African Conflict Prevention Programme (ACPP), ISS Nairobi Office in conjunction with the Hanns-Seidel Foundation and Deepening Democracy Programme- Kampala


In February 2011, Uganda held its presidential, parliamentary and mayoral elections. This was the second presidential election since the introduction of multiparty system in 2005. Incumbent President Museveni won a fourth term by 68.38% of the total votes. His long-time political rival, Dr. Kizza Besigye managed a second place with 26.0% of the votes. The parliamentary elections were also characterized by stiff competition largely between the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Mayoral elections on the other hand did not make an exception to this rule. The campaign period and the election process were relatively peaceful. President Museveni's re-election gives him the opportunity to be one of the longest serving presidents in Africa, if this term is successfully completed. Despite been generally peaceful, the opposition continues to accuse the incumbent and the ruling party- the NRM of voter bribery, uneven political campaigning turf, intimidation through the use of state security forces, unprecedented extravagance and rigging. These accusations have subsequently dictated the posturing of the opposition after the announcement of the results and appear to be significant in its political character in the post-election era.

So what does this loss mean for the opposition and the overall existence of political space in the country? What are the regional implications of this fourth term presidency of Yoweri Museveni? What is the significance of the 2011 election for democracy in Uganda, and what are some of the challenges to the practice of democracy? What role do political parties and the civil society play in the practice and promotion of democracy? What role does the discovery of oil find in the politics of the country? What does the current wave of protests across North Africa mean for the fourth term presidency? And what policy changes can the country and the region expect?

It is within this context that the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)- African Conflict Prevention Programme (ACPP), the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Deepening Democracy Programme jointly organized a one-day seminar in Kampala, Uganda, on 29 March 2011, to deliberate and find answers to these issues. The seminar aimed at interrogating key pre and post-election issues and their implications on regional and national political and democratic space, security and development. Attended by 52 participants, the seminar brought together members of government institutions, the diplomatic community, academia, researchers, members of the civil society, and the military, to deliberate on emerging key issues.