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Why Uganda's 25-year ruler is unlikely to face Egypt-style protests

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On the surface, Egypt and Uganda have plenty in common: long-ruling authoritarian presidents, endemic poverty, lack of political freedom, weak opposition movements, large numbers of unemployed youth. Both countries, in theory, should be equally in danger of revolt. But experts say that Uganda is unlikely to follow Egypt's path of mass revolt.

"I believe we'll not have anything happen in Uganda like what we see in Egypt," says Sandra Adong Oder, a Uganda expert and senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. "From the security side, the president will make sure there are no incidents of violence [by protesters], and his police are very well equipped. He has effectively neutralized the opposition and the government institutions that might limit his power. And from the public side, there is this lethargy, an apathy, really."

Indeed, Uganda's largely rural population remains unpoliticized, with a low level of Internet use and few major towns. And security forces are always prepared to use lethal force. All of this makes an Egyptian scenario unlikely. "If an uprising like Tunisia happened in Uganda, then Museveni would kill a lot of people," says Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, a political scientist at Kampala's Makerere University. "If it happened it wouldn't last long, as the government can also easily cut off telephones and radio stations."

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