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Uganda election was reality check for Africa, West

We're not likely to see Uganda or other African countries revolt against corrupt governments as the Arab world has done. With the election of Museveni in Uganda, citizens chose short-term stability, with long-term consequences – not just for Uganda, but the entire region.

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Yoweri Museveni’s decisive victory in Uganda’s elections will, despite complaints of election fraud, extend his 25-year rule by another five years, putting to rest any thought that winds of change from North Africa would blow south across the Sahara. It looks instead as if the veteran leader, who came to power at the head of a rebel army, is settling in for a Life Presidency in the old, African style.

Western donors will, or should, feel some discomfort at the political longevity of a man who they have helped to empower. And in a year that will see another 17 elections in Africa, the Ugandan case offers a reality check. While the election was good for Mr. Museveni, it is not necessarily good for Uganda – or the region, long term.

Power based on patronage is hard to sustain and encourages corruption and opportunism. The longer a party stays in power, the more the lines between party and state blur, and the more traumatic eventual change may be.

Uganda election: Four reasons donor nations won't turn their backs on President Museveni


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