Uganda’s General Elections started on Thursday 14th January, amidst a countryside internet shutdown that has critics have condemned as an onslaught to freedom of speech and democracy.
The incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, is seeking re-election and his closest challenger is the youthful firebrand musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.
Voters in Uganda will be headed to the ballot to decide whether to extend President Museveni’s tenure or vote in Bobi Wine.
Interestingly, born in February 1982, Bobi Wine was only 4 years old when 76-year-old Museveni started ruling Uganda in 1986. Museveni was involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Amin (1971–79) and Milton Obote (1980–85) before he captured power in the 1980s.
Bobi Wine is the current Member of Parliament for Kyadondo County East constituency in Wakiso District, in Uganda’s Central Region, following his election in 2017.
Electoral system In Uganda
The General Election in Uganda is held to elect the president and Members of Parliament.
The President of Uganda is elected using the two-round system, with candidates needing to receive at least 50% of the vote to be elected in the first round.
Uganda’s National Assembly has a total of 529 seats, including 353 representatives elected using first-past-the-post voting in single-winner constituencies. 146 seats are reserved for women in a ratio of one seat per district. 30 seats are also indirectly filled via special electoral colleges: 10 by the army, 5 by youths, 5 by elders, 5 by unions and 5 by the persons with disabilities. In each of these groups, at least one woman must be elected.
Election Campaigns in Uganda
The election campaigns in Uganda have been marred with violence and massive arrests with President Museveni being accused of using the army to harass his opponents.