Thursday, July 28, 2005

Uganda: referendum on going to multiparty system

When President Museveni came to power in 1986, he banned multiparty politics saying that parties would divide the country along tribal and religious lines. But now he's for multiparty politics and the referendum asks the people of Uganda if they agree with him.

The referendum question ...
"Do you agree to open up political space to allow those who wish to join different organisations/parties to do so to compete for political power?" (source)
Umm ... there has to be a simpler way to say that.

How they vote ...
Voters indicate their choice by placing an X next to a tree symbol for the return to pluralism or next to a house symbol for the retention of the nonpartisan system. (source)
I heard the BBC reporter in Uganda (his name escapes me) saying that some of the people he had spoken to in the countryside were confused about what the tree/house mean.

The critics ...
Museveni's critics say it is a waste of money, as the constitution already provides for multiparty elections, which could have been simply ratified by the country's district councils. Opposition political parties are boycotting the poll, saying its main purpose is to enable the ruling party to campaign for next year's elections using state resources and their right to campaign shouldn't need anyone's approval. (source)
Others blog posts on this story from ...
- Kelly Fish in Uganda
- Menya Kilat

UPDATE ... Ugandans voted yes.
A total of 92.5 percent of voters who participated in the plebiscite backed the reforms, based on returns from 99.6 percent of the polling stations.

[...] The "no" vote accounted for only 7.5 percent of the ballots cast, with the overall turnout hovering at 47 percent, Kiggundu told reporters. (source)