News / Africa

    Campaigns Finished, Ugandans Prepare for Thursday Elections

    Supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye flash the peace sign, or victory sign, to show solidarity with their candidate in the suburb of Ntinda, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: Lizabeth Paulat for VOA)
    Supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye flash the peace sign, or victory sign, to show solidarity with their candidate in the suburb of Ntinda, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: Lizabeth Paulat for VOA)
    Jill Craig

    Ugandans are preparing to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on Thursday, after candidates concluded their campaigns Tuesday. Some voters say peace and stability are most important for them, while others want change and a new regime. 

    Lining the streets of Kampala, blue and yellow campaign posters compete for space on billboards, walls, and t-shirts. Blue represents the Forum for Democratic Change party of main opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, while yellow is synonymous with the National Resistance Movement party of incumbent Yoweri Museveni. 

    The two men are the top contenders competing for Uganda’s presidency, along with six other candidates.
    The candidate considered to be in third place is Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister to Museveni who is running as an independent.

    A supporter of President Yoweri Museveni at a rally in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA )
    A supporter of President Yoweri Museveni at a rally in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA )

    What matters to voters

    Joanitta Sitenda, a 40 year-old Kampala resident, says she remembers life in the 1980s, when the Ugandan Bush War engulfed her country. For her, peace and stability are most important in how she votes. “NRM, I like it, it’s my party. It has given us peace, we have been able to get skills, it has enlightened us, in a lot of things,” she said. 
     
    "Peace" is a common refrain cited by those supporting the NRM. Older supporters remember war and do not want a return of conflict, while younger ones, like Isaac Dungu, are influenced by the experiences of their elders. 
     
    “My father was in prison, was in prison of the previous president, Obote, so when Museveni came into power, he released him from prison, so all our family is a supporter of President Museveni,” Dungu explained.

    Other voters, especially younger ones, say they are more concerned with how their country is faring in terms of more current issues, like healthcare, education and employment.

    A group of Kizza Besigye supporters in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA)
    A group of Kizza Besigye supporters in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA)

    Young voters

    Uganda’s youth are a difficult-to-ignore demographic. Out of a population of about 38 million people, 50 percent of the population is under the age of 16, and another 25 percent is between the ages of 16 and 30. 
     
    Loamula Muhindo is a young FDC supporter who is frustrated by what she said are a lack of opportunities in Uganda. 

    “We have a job problem, there are no jobs. I am working at a building, as a painter, as a builder, but I’m not destined to work there because I’ve got some qualifications, I can work somewhere in the office,” she said. “So maybe when President Besigye comes into power, I can get a chance.”

    Supporters of President Yoweri Museveni await his arrival at a rally in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA )
    Supporters of President Yoweri Museveni await his arrival at a rally in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: J. Craig / VOA )

     

    FDC supporter Abbey Segujja said it is time for 71-year-old Museveni to step down as president after his 30 years in office, and enjoy his golden years.

    “We are ready to take care of President Museveni, so he can sit back and relax at his home. We will take the juices, we will take the fruit to his house. Let him rest, because he’s a grandpa now. He’s very old for the nation,” he said. 

    Disturbance at rally

    On Monday, Besigye was on his way to a rally when police stopped his convoy and detained him, saying he was conducting rallies in the off-limits central business district. Besigye was released that afternoon, but supporters got into altercations with police as they waited near Makerere University for their candidate to continue his campaign. Supporters threw stones and police fired tear gas into the crowd. 

    Presidential candidate Kizza Besigye was flanked by supporters as he made his way through the suburb of Ntinda, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: Lizabeth Paulat for VOA)
    Presidential candidate Kizza Besigye was flanked by supporters as he made his way through the suburb of Ntinda, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: Lizabeth Paulat for VOA)

    Both candidates finished their campaigns on Tuesday, as thousands of Ugandans came out to support them at various rallies around Kampala. 

    Besigye has run against Museveni three times before, losing each time amid accusations that the president's supporters rigged the vote and intimidated his opponents.
     
    Polls open at 7:00 a.m. local time on Thursday and close at 4:00 p.m. 

    WATCH: Uganda political rallies

    Uganda Political Ralliesi
    X
    February 17, 2016 11:57 AM
    Thousands attended political rallies in Kisaasi, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda Tuesday in a show of support for President Yoweri Museveni and opposition leader Kizza Besigye, Feb. 16, 2016.

     

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora