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Uganda Opposition Wants Clinton to Press for Democratic Reforms

  • Peter Clottey

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal, August 1, 2012.

A leading member of Uganda’s main opposition party has called on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to put pressure on President Yoweri Museveni to implement democratic reforms.

“[That includes the restructuring] of the Independent Electoral Commission, presidential term limits and all other laws related to electioneering, [as well as] the issues of police harassment and corruption. Service delivery has totally broken down in this country because of especially, corruption,” said Sam Angoliga of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

Secretary Clinton is scheduled to meet the Ugandan leader Thursday as part of her official six-nation African visit.

According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, Secretary Clinton will encourage the strengthening of democratic institutions, the protection of human rights, while also reinforcing Uganda as a key U.S. partner in promoting regional security through its efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army [rebels].

Nuland said the United States is continuing to provide training, equipment and logistical support for African military efforts across the affected region to eradicate the group. She said the secretary will also speak with Ugandan leaders about U.S. support in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Angoliga said the top U.S. envoy should urge the government to stop what he called the use of state security to harass and intimidate members of the opposition.

The government has denied the accusation saying the opposition has refused to accept Mr. Museveni’s victory in last year’s presidential election by organizing street protests meant to undermine the administration.

Angoliga admits the opposition has refused to accept the ruling party’s electoral victory.

“We have not recognized the government…We know it is the Ugandan government but it is not a legitimate government… We all agree that the president was not legitimately elected as the president of Uganda,” said Angoliga.

He called on Secretary Clinton to meet with some members of the opposition in order for them to express their concerns about the country’s governance.

"It will be pertinent if Secretary Clinton met with the opposition leaders in parliament," he said. "If she should meet with them and understand the issues, which she could [then] raise with the president, it will help a great deal."

Angoliga said he expects Secretary Clinton to call on Mr. Museveni to address concerns about graft in his administration.