Event Reports

Six Years of Multiparty System - What Is the State of Multiparty Democracy in Uganda?

Public Dialogue organized by the Makerere University Convocation

The Makerere University Convocation (MUC) held another public dialogue in its monthly series of events dealing with issues pertinent to democratic governance and development in Uganda. MUC had invited four Members of the Ugandan Parliament to discuss the state of the Multiparty System in Uganda with students and the interested public.

The public dialogue took place in the Upper Conference Hall in the Senate Building of the Makerere University. After welcoming words by MUC Chairman Bruce Baraba and Mr. Patrick Wegner on behalf of KAS, Professor Arron Mukwaya of Makerere University held a lecture on the state of democracy in Uganda to kick off the dialogue. Moderation for the dialogue was done by NTV’s Maurice Mugisha.

In his speech Prof. Mukwaya emphasized that democracy means that the people own the country and have a duty to be active citizens participating in governance. In this context he argued for more efforts in the democratic education of the people. His assessment of the situation in Uganda was critical. He argued that there has been a circular movement in Uganda without a real progress and thus concluded that it was problematic to even speak about the state of the Multiparty System at the moment. He highlighted as main problems the lack of clear programmes and ideologies on the part of Ugandan parties, as well as the rampant corruption and the mentality of owning the country among politicians. The removal of term limits and irregularities in elections were two additional problems that Prof. Mukwaya pointed out. He urged for a better separation of powers in Uganda and for a moderation of the powers of the President.

Unfortunately, three of the four invited Members of Parliament were not able to attend the event. The Honourable Gerald Karuhanga, Youth MP for the Western Region, arrived late, but was able to offer his views on the topic. He emphasized that President Museveni had ruled through manipulation and patronage in the past six years. He accused the President of working with the electoral commission in order to manipulate the results of the 2011 election. Additionally he criticized the rampant corruption in Uganda and the removal of the Presidential term limit.

The floor was then opened to the participants. The comments from the audience focused on the corruption in government and the lack of clear ideologies and internal democracy in the Ugandan parties.

(Patrick Wegner)