In 2013, the Ugandan government passed the Public Order Management Act, stating that organizers must inform police before holding any large public gatherings. Officials say they want to prevent disorderly conduct, but many people point to the law as a convenient way to discourage opposition.
President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. Despite his advancing age, his supporters are changing laws to let him run for office again. Meanwhile, his record of human rights abuses is piling up. Now, a new group of citizens is taking the lead in opposing his rule: musicians and entertainers.
Fear of change, as well as a legendarily corrupt political system, will challenge Sam Lyomoki, a member of the nation’s ruling party. His proposals include a streamlining of Parliament and assurances of public access to health, education and utilities.
David Bahati, the Ugandan lawmaker who has consistently pushed for harsh laws to curb homosexuality, tells Global Press Journal how he felt when the law he drafted was overturned, and what he plans to do to revive it in the future. Uganda’s anti-gay stance has been widely denounced as a human rights violation.
Taban Idi Amin, whose grandfather was Idi Amin, vicious dictator of Uganda in the 1970s, won a parliamentary seat in February but continues to battle against the people’s memories of his forebear. Though his campaign opponent warned that Taban Idi Amin would repeat his grandfather’s atrocities, and some accuse him of bribing voters, others point to ways he had helped the people of his district even before the election.
Much of the land in Uganda is owned by families under a traditional system, which uses geographical features as boundary markers and knowledge maintained by clan elders. The recent civil war has destroyed those markers, and most of the elders who know who owns what have passed away. As families return to their land, they now have a difficult task to prove it belongs to them.
Uganda banned citizens from taking jobs as domestic workers in Middle Eastern countries in January 2016 after reports of sexual abuse, slavery and beatings surfaced. However, because of high rates of unemployment at home, Ugandans continued to migrate illegally for work. The government partially lifted the ban in March and maintains that increased supervision through recruitment agencies will lead to safer working conditions, but some say the measures are not enough to prevent abuse.
Throughout East Africa, presidents are using a variety of controversial methods to overstay term limits and remain in power. Uganda might be the next to follow suit as its leader bumps up against its constitution’s upper age limit for holding office.
Traditional land management in Uganda is causing problems as the country modernizes and land disputes rise. A spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Lands talked with the Global Press about how land owners can protect their land by documenting ownership properly.
Local governments will have a right to compensation from the revenue, and citizens will be entitled to seek redress for a polluted environment, says lawyer Patson Wilbroad Arinaitwe. He stresses the importance of regular environmental audits by the government and urges a requirement that companies monitor themselves, though the nation lacks a culture of enforcement and compliance.