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Mbarara District Political Actors Discuss Challenges to Democracy

Public Dialogue on Political Pluralism and Democracy

At a dialogue organised by KAS in Mbarara district, Makerere University Don Assoc. Prof. Yasin Olum has challenged political leaders to have faith in possibilities of power change if elections are to be a meaningful process.

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Prof. Olum was responding to concerns by dialogue participants that incumbent leaders can rarely be defeated in elections. Participants pointed out electoral malpractices such as bribery and vote rigging usually in favour of incumbents as some of the factors that make it difficult for new entrants to win political offices.

The Mbarara dialogue has been the sixth in a series organised by KAS on the theme “overcoming the challenges to political pluralism and democracy at the local government level”. It brought together elected leaders from the district local government council and political parties as well as civil society representatives and the media.

Central to the dialogue discussions was the weak internal democracy in all political parties and the limited tolerance of divergent political views by actors. In the wake of party internal elections that have been marred by malpractices and violence, participants expressed worry that such a negative trend could easily spill over to the general election in 2011. This they expressed would greatly jeopardise Uganda’s democratisation process. Participants challenged each other to take over responsibility in promoting the values of tolerance and other good democratic virtues.

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Pelican Hotel, Mbarara


Peter Girke

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Assoc. Prof. Yasin Olum speaking at the dialogue in Mbarara, Pelican Hotel -

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