April 2019

Polls have shown that the popularity of Bobi Wine is rising, while Museveni’s popularity is declining. Despite this, the Daily Nation reported that Museveni will remain the most popular though, coming in at around 32 per cent of the vote, with Wine and long-time opposition leader Kizza Besigye following at around 22 and 13 per cent respectively. However, polls are notoriously unreliable in Uganda, where Museveni has a deplorable track record with regards to free and fair elections. Over the course of his 33-year tenure, Museveni has been accused by the Supreme Court and international partners of violating election laws, pressuring and harassing opposition parties, hindering free speech, and ballot stuffing.

Meanwhile, two other developments are threatening Uganda. The first is the rise of Ebola in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda’s giant neighbour to the east. A surge in violence over the last months has resulted in thousands of refugees spilling over the porous border into Uganda. Unregistered and unscreened refugees might bring the deadly disease to Uganda, and it is up to the DRC, Uganda, and international partners and donors to make sure that that does not happen.

The second development is the rise of fuel prices, and subsequently, the rise of living costs in Uganda and Kenya. Coupled with a high inflation of 3.5 per cent in April in Uganda, this resulted in a rise of prices of basic commodities such as fruit and vegetables. Earlier this month we saw the collapse of a dictatorship in Sudan, which was kick-started by the rise of basic commodities such as bread. In an earlier article, we warned of the spill-over effects of a successful revolution in Sudan for Museveni, another long-time ruler. It is too early to tell, but a sharp increase of costs of basic commodities tends to stimulate widespread discontent with a country’s leadership, which, coupled with Uganda’s discontent with Museveni’s long tenure could inspire a democratic revolution. At the very least, it is something that Museveni is probably keeping a close eye on.

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