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Ugandans will clash over much-needed electoral reforms

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Subject

Electoral reform controversies in Uganda.

Significance

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) on July 25 tabled a new electoral reform package in parliament. Opposition parties have already decried the legislation as designed to tighten President Yoweri Museveni’s grip on power. However, the reality is more complex. While some aspects of the bills will, if passed, strengthen Museveni’s position, they also represent a long-overdue attempt to resolve the many problems that bedevil the electoral system.

Impacts

  • With the world’s youngest population, the electoral commission will need to register huge numbers of first-time voters before 2021.
  • Youth voters are likely to favour Bobi Wine, but Museveni has made efforts to court youth groups and may perform better than expected.
  • The monetisation of elections may persist, but could shift from internal NRM competition to the battle for youth votes.
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