Posted on July 5, 2005

Ugandan Leader Shows Signs of Backsliding

Chris Tomlinson, AP, July 3

Former President Clinton called him a new kind of African leader and international donors tripped over themselves in granting him cash and praise. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said all the right things and brought stability to one of Africa’s biggest problem countries.

Now, however, the reformist appears to be setting himself up as president-for-life, his critics charge.

As the leaders of the world eight most powerful countries meet in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss aid to Africa, what is happening in Uganda casts doubt on other African leaders anxious to secure debt relief, a free trade and more aid. In return for these things, they promise good governance, which some see as term limits in countries best known for their dictators during the Cold War.

On June 28, Uganda’s parliament packed with Museveni supporters took the first step to reforming the constitution so that Museveni could run for a third term. Outside, police were using tear gas and a water cannon to disperse protesters.

“The dictatorship has been ushered in, and this is a recipe for another round of disorder. People will now know that whoever is in power is there through manipulation,” opposition legislator John Kawanga said. “We are going to see regression instead of progress.”

Museveni is not alone.