ICG warns Museveni over his style of leadership

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni accused by the ICG of harassing the opposition.

Popular protests and discontent in Uganda are set to grow unless Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni breaks with the ways of his predecessors and the trend of his own lengthy rule. This is the view of the International Crisis Group (ICG) portrayed in its report on the East African country entitledUganda: No Resolution to Growing Tensions’.

The latest ICG report examines the increasing dissatisfaction with Museveni’s administration and argues that the main cause of the social unrest in Uganda today is ‘a slow and continuing shift from constitutional-style government to patronage-based, personal rule’. It says that in his two decades of power, President Museveni has come to rely like his predecessors – though without their wanton brutality – increasingly on centralised power, patronage and coercion to maintain control.

“Democratic initiatives lost momentum after the first decade of Museveni’s rule”, says EJ Hogendoorn, ICG’s Horn of Africa Project Director. “Instead of supporting the no-party system as the framework for unfettered participation, the president began using it to further his own objectives”.

The report says that during the time when Uganda was a British Protectorate, the country merged a highly diverse region of competing kingdoms and more loosely organised pastoral societies into a single entity. “Milton Obote, independent Uganda’s first president, and Idi Amin worsened those divisions. They entered office with broad coalitions that soon foundered over colonial cleavages and turned instead to patronage and coercion to remain in power,” the report says.

It goes on to say that after Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) seized power in 1986, he seemed at first to put the country on a more inclusive path in order to restore civilian control, rule of law and economic growth. “He created a non-partisan “democratic” system that many enthusiastically embraced, and an elaborate consultative process led to a new constitution in 1995 with checks and balances. But after a decade in power the president began using the no-party system to further his own objectives. Over time, he replaced veteran politicians and longstanding NRM members who criticised his policies with trusted members of his inner circle. He also created a patronage network loyal to him.”

Museveni, the ICG report says injected huge amounts of government funds into his re-election campaign for the fourth term in office.  It accuses the NRM of harassing the opposition and adds that although Museveni won majorities throughout the country, it is uncertain whether this reflected more his popularity or the power of his purse and other state resources.

The report says that the discovery of significant oil reserves in the country is unlikely to reduce social and political tensions. “The oil may ensure Museveni’s control by enabling him to consolidate his system of patronage, but it could also feed corruption and disrupt the steady growth produced by economic diversification.” It adds: “Five years after learning that the country would become a major oil producer, the government is just beginning to put a regulatory framework in place.”

ICG reckons that the ‘walk-to-work’ campaign mounted by the opposition has been a success. This week, the country’s Attorney General Peter Nyombi announced the banning of the A4C network that has been behind these protests. “The president’s re-election, access to material resources, tactical skill, ability to deflect international criticism and ambition to control the country’s transition to an oil exporter suggest that he will try to continue to consolidate his personal power and direct Uganda’s future for some time to come, despite the consequences this may have for long-term stability,” Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director says. “Unless he changes course, however, tension will grow. Considering Uganda’s violent past, conflict might then become more deadly”.  Uganda’s violent past, conflict might then become more deadly”.

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3 thoughts on “ICG warns Museveni over his style of leadership

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:46 am
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    Generally speaking, people are tired of Museveni’s regime. Museveni himself knows has nothing more left to contribute to Uganda, that is if he has ever contributed anything that history can record as success.

    Museveni to power on one very single promise, to change Uganda from the way it was governed in the past. In 25 years he has not only done worse than the previous regimes, but took the poor governance of the country to another level. He has ruthlessly created and maintained a one man rule regardless of the more than 70 cabinet ministers he boasts to have. They play no role in decision making, only stamp whatever he dictates.

    Whether Museveni goes down by the gun or through the ballot he has already entered the annal of history as one of them “Worst dictator that has ever ruled an African country.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2015 at 4:37 pm
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    those who are against museveni as aperson should’nt waste their time trying to confuse the minds of
    ugandans.
    recalling our history which was characterised by the forces of tyranny that was later changed by His,Excellency the president Y. K. MUSEVENI .
    He is at times potrayed as adictator by being aruthless and relentless leader who would not tolerate every nosense that is uttered out by those confused fellors that try to divert the intentions of the young generation.

    Reply
  • December 16, 2015 at 7:49 am
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    Europeans need to stop worrying about Africans and their affairs. When was the last time that Africans came to Europe or America and told you what to do with police brutality, the industrial complex prison system or the media controlled election processes in your countries. President Museveni has done a!ot for Uganda. He has brought safety, stability and economic growth to Uganda. Look at the amount of women that hold cabinet positions under his presidency. There used to be a time when we slept in the bathtub for fear of being bombed or being hit by a bullet. Ever since President Museveni become President, there’s no more fear. These kids growing up and you foreigners have no idea what Uganda was like prior to Museveni. People were dying left and right, diseases no business and poverty. No one wanted to do business in Uganda because it wasn’t safe. Museveni changed that. In 1986 Uganda’s GDP was $3Billion. Today, its close to $30Billion. An increase of about 1000%.
    It has not been easy for Uganda,but Uganda is not being built on a slave system like most of the developed countries were built. Our struggle is a different one and it will take a long time to build.The key to our success will be and still is peace and stability. We don’t need outsiders interfering with our affairs just like you don’t want us interfering with your affairs. Long live President Museveni!

    Reply

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