Political Repression and Uganda’s Democratic Dispensation 1996-2016
Why substantial political violence and human rights abuses are more common during democratic elections in Uganda? Since Uganda transited into democratic dispensation in 1996, has been holding elections but the ruling National Resistance Movement government used it to increase its chances to hold onto power. In this paper I exposit a simple explanation that leaders who gain political power through protracted war and later establish democratic institutions with the claim that they fought to restore rule of law and democracy are likely to use those democratic institutions they establish to help them positively or negatively to hold onto power. Positively, such leaders ensure that constitutional contents are drafted and designed in a way that it hardly constrains their political behaviour. Negatively, it uses election repression as a strategy to weaken opposition in elections. Under such conditions the opposition is left with little or no incentives to credibly challenge the incumbent government. It is in that context, this paper attempts to answer the above stated question. The answer to this question revealed that National Resistance Movement government under the leadership of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has used electoral repression tactic to suppress opposition to remain in power for a long time. The discussions in this paper attest to election repression in the subsequent presidential elections 1996-2016. The conclusion is that democratic elections are not sufficient indicator of democracy. It helped NRM government to flaunt authoritarianism practices particularly election repression to defend and retain political power.