Will Ugandan voters choose Museveni again?

Uganda goes to the polls this Thursday (18 February) and President Yoweri Museveni is expected to extend his 30-year rule in spite of strong opposition from other candidates.

It’s a time of some tension and uncertainty for Viva’s partner network, CRANE, which cares for 70,000 vulnerable children through the collective work of over 130 churches and organisations in the capital city, Kampala.

With the political campaign stepping up, people are becoming increasingly concerned about safety on Thursday, and about possible violent repercussions when results are announced next Monday (22 February).

At the age of 71, President Museveni (below) is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and hopes to be in power for a fifth term.

His National Resistance Movement (NRM) has been credited with restoring relative stability and economic prosperity to Uganda following years of civil war and oppression.

Major issues for voters currently include persistently high unemployment, corruption and the quality of public services.

Of the seven other candidates, there are only two who might threaten the President’s position.

Kizza Besigye (below left) is the leader of the main opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and it is the fourth time that he has run for presidency. Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi (below right) is standing as an independent for the GoForward pressure group.

The Human Rights Network-Uganda and the international group Human Rights Watch have reported an intensifying government crackdown on opposition leaders, their supporters and the media.

A few weeks ago, a spokesperson for the NRM party boldly stated on national television that they had already deployed the military in different parts of the country and that there will be bloodshed should Museveni lose the election.

Annah Mary Tusiime, Viva Africa Administrator, based in Kampala, says, “From my observation, I think most people in the city do not want Museveni to be president again but the people in the villages seem to want him back particularly because of the current political stability they enjoy.

“We have had quite peaceful elections since Museveni became president and we pray for the same this time round. Of course people have doubts but I think all will be well.”

Annah asks for prayer:
– That Ugandans will be guided to voting the right leader into power.
– That the elections and all processes involved before and after will be peaceful.
– For wisdom and integrity from everyone seeking harmony and peace at this time.