Multi-party democracy in Uganda is a farce – opposition claims

By Nkonge I Kaggwa in Kampala, Uganda

Freddie Mukasa Mbidde (gesticulating). "In Uganda today there is no multi-party dispensation at all."
Freddie Mukasa Mbidde (gesticulating). “In Uganda today there is no multi-party dispensation at all.”

The opposition political parties in Uganda say it would be confusing to claim that they are operating under a multi-party political dispensation as a way to democratize the country.

Uganda has had two elections under the Political Parties and Organizations Act 2005 which some analysts say were a sham, with one election ending up being contested in the Supreme Court. Since the 2011 general elections and before, several political party leaders have been arrested, put under house arrest while a couple of them have been charged.

Speaking to the London Evening Post at his offices in Kampala, the legal adviser of the Democratic Party, who is also the chairperson of the East African Legislative Assembly, Freddie Mukasa Mbidde, said: “In Uganda today there is no multi-party dispensation at all, we only have registered political parties but their views and intensions under which they registered for cannot be achieved.”

He noted that all top leaders within the Democratic Party are on police bail with many tramped-up charges. “I’m always up and down trying to rescue my colleagues after being arrested by police as they are trying to demonstrate their constitutional mandate as political parties by holding political rallies while others are trying to demonstrate as the law permits,” Mbidde said. He added:  “Yesterday my colleague, a lawyer also president of a party (JEMA), Asumani Basaalirwa was arrested while going to rescue his fellow politicians in Kabale but wasn’t charged with any offence. Some claimed he had abused traffic laws but was put in cells until midnight and then released. He subsequently failed to represent his colleagues in court.”

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