Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 9, issue 4

Giovanni M. Carbone, "Political Parties in a 'No-Party Democracy': Hegemony and Opposition Under 'Movement Democracy' in Uganda," Party Politics, 9 (July 2003), 485-501.

First Paragraph:
In January 1986, Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) finally took power in Uganda and formally established what it claimed was a new type of democracy, which soon came to be known as movement' or 'no-party' democracy. During a five-year civil war aimed at ousting President Milton Obote, Museveni had restored community-level political participation in the areas under NRM control. With the end of the war, the holding of local elections was extended to the whole country and regularized, soon becoming the platform for an indirectly elected national lelgislature. Then, direct elections for a Constituent Assembly took place in 1994 and, under the new constitution, presidential and partliamentary elections followed in 1996 and, again, in 2001.

Figures and Tables:
None

Last Paragraph:
The 2001 elections were formally held on a no-party basis. Yet, 'Movement democracy' seems unlikely to progress further towards institutionalization. As soon as the elections were over, the debate on whether multipartism should be introduced took off again. Jaberi Bidandi-Ssali, one of the Movement's most influential leaders, declared that he could not see a reason why the 'individual merit' principle should be adopted again in 2006.21 Western donors said they saw no difference between the election campaign mounted by the Movement and that of a fully-fledged political party. Uganda's political-institutional dynamic since Museveni took over in 1986, may soon experience further crucial changes.