Jump to navigation

Published 4th April 2003

Vol 44 No 7


The great U-turn

President Museveni calls for the freeing of parties and the chance of a third term at the top

It was the sharpest of U-turns. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has vehemently defended his 'no-party system' of government since he won power in 1986, now wants to lift the ban on multi-party politics. He told delegates at an apprehensive congress of the ruling National Resistance Movement at Kyankwanzi, north of Kampala, on 26 March, that they should accommodate those politicians who had persuaded 'about 20 per cent' of Ugandans to vote against his no-party system. The NRM would remain unchanged, a broad church: 'Those who want to experiment again with political parties can do so alongside the Movement, which should maintain its present identity'. So the no-party system (with its massive state subventions) is to compete with others in the presidential election due in 2006. The change of heart is more pragmatic than ideological. The NRM's middle ranks are increasingly calling for political liberalisation and modernisation. They also want more power within the Movement over its ruling clique, who have been conspicuously enjoying the spoils of government. Its National Secretariat follows rather than leads debates and most of its officers are loyal to the President rather than the NRM. Some activists have peeled off to the Reform Agenda group, led by Museveni's former doctor and challenger in the 2001 election, Kizza Besigye. He was last seen in Rwanda which, says the NRM, finances the Reform Agenda's armed wing, the People's Redemption Army. Support for the Reform Agenda is growing, though it is not formally organised as a party.

Soccer war, Congo war

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

So it's war then. Uganda's daily Monitor was unequivocal: 'Rwanda, Uganda go to war in Kigali!' screamed the headline. In fact, the Monitor was reporting a qualifying match between...

Victory is not enough

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

A row about government posts and the new constitution threatens the ruling coalition

Two interlinked questions gnaw at the credibility of President Mwai Kibaki's government: will the presidency exert leadership in economic and political reform and will the ruling c...

Unity's opponents

Gbagbo grudgingly cooperates with a French-brokered peace agreement

The 5 pm traffic jam of cars with African Development Bank licence plates heading out of Abidjan's Plateau business district to leafy villas in Cocody and Deux Plateaux is gone. In...

Hard-core Gbagbo

Around President Laurent Gbagbo is a hard core which is fiercely opposed to the Marcoussis peace accord and firmly convinced of the truth of Pastor Moïse Koré's asserti...

Up for grabs

As President Lansana Conté lies dying, the international community courts Guinea

Gravely ill with complications from diabetes, President Lansana Conté has withdrawn to his home village of Moussayah, leaving the army and the divided opposition holding th...


Votes and gaols

Barely noticed abroad because of the war on Iraq, on 31 March the Movement for Democratic Change regained some of the momentum it had lost with two by-election victories in its Har...

War spreads

A double tragedy of fighting and famine threatens drought-stricken Darfur (AC Vol 43 No 23). A major assault is expected by the National Islamic Front government which has declared...

Delta force

Just when oil markets needed abundant West African crude supplies (AC Vol 44 No 6), an explosion of violence in Delta State has cut off a third of Nigerian production. Attacks by I...

Boom to bust

The collapse of Abdelmoumen Rafik Khalifa's El Khalifa Group (EKG) has seen investors mobbing banks in search of their savings, French intelligence leaks about power brokers' roles...