Country Report Uganda March 2011

The political scene: Mr Museveni even carries northern Uganda

There is some truth to objections over the fairness of the elections made by the losing candidates, but there is no doubt that Mr Museveni commanded the vast majority of support. The most surprising aspect of his win was the range of his support throughout the country, winning a majority in all but six of Uganda's 112 districts. The belt of political opposition across north and east Uganda that was a feature of the 2006 election has all but disappeared. Mr Besigye was the preferred candidate in this opposition area in 2006-most of the 20 districts that he won in 2006 were in that belt-but this time he won in only three districts: Serere and Serote in the east, and, by a whisker, in Kampala. Insofar as the results might continue to reflect any anti-Museveni sentiment in the north, it was in the three districts of Amuru, Gulu and Nwoya, all won by Mr Mao, who is a northerner. Even in these northern districts, though, nowhere did Mr Museveni's vote fall below 26%. It appears that the remarkable growth of his political support in the north and east following the successful conclusion of the civil war against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the subsequent infusion of public funds in the region is one of the most important reasons for the substantial gains that he made in this election.

The range of support for the president nationwide can be gauged in the voting pattern of the four largest regions, all of which gave him thumping majorities in comparison with Mr Besigye-62% to 31% in the Centre, 68% to 28% in the East, 80% to 18% in the West, and even 56% to 26% in the North. A further cause of satisfaction for the president was the failure of the three candidates that supported a change to a federal system of government to make any impact at all. The best that Beti Kamya could manage (standing as a candidate in favour of federo-an independent Buganda within a federal Uganda) was 3% in Mpigi, a district in the Buganda heartland, but where Mr Museveni polled 66%. With most of the parliamentary votes counted, the results indicate that Mr Museveni will be supported by another substantial overall majority for his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, which is on course to have 279 members of parliament (MPs) in the next parliament, compared with 56 MPs for all the other parties.

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