Uganda

Executive Summary

Uganda is a constitutional republic led since 1986 by President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. In February 2016 voters re-elected Museveni to a fifth five-year term and returned an NRM majority to the unicameral parliament. The elections fell short of international standards and were marred by allegations of disenfranchisement and voter intimidation, harassment of the opposition, closure of social media websites, and lack of transparency and independence in the Electoral Commission. The periods before, during, and after the elections were marked by a closing of political space, intimidation of journalists, and widespread use of torture by the security agencies.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

On December 20, Parliament passed a bill removing presidential age limits from the constitution, and on December 27, President Museveni signed the bill, thereby paving the way for him to run for another term. During the period before passage of the bill, the government limited freedoms of speech and assembly.

The most significant human rights issues included unlawful killings and torture by security forces; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary detention; restrictions on freedoms of press, expression, assembly, and political participation; official corruption; and criminalization of same-sex consensual sexual conduct, including security force harassment and detention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons.

The government was reluctant to investigate, prosecute, or punish officials who committed human rights violations, whether in the security services or elsewhere in government, and impunity was a problem.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future