Likely Scenarios of the 2016 General Elections; Light Amidst the Darkness?

Published By UNNGOF |  October 9, 2015

On 18th September 2015, Uganda National NGO Forum held a high-level scenario building session, ‘The Road to 2016’, for Ugandan experts and intellectuals to analyze and predict the possible outcomes and likely scenarios in the run up to, during and after the 2016 general elections.

Participants from diverse sectors presented grim likely scenarios in the run up to 2016, allowing neither positivity nor optimism to alter the facts. The predicted scenarios include; mass uprisings and violence; palace coup; economic hardships and a complete state of despair.  These likelihoods are believed to stem from the increased state ferocity, wide spread mistrust in Election Management Systems and disparity in the distribution of resources and opportunities.

With the 3rd National General Elections under Multiparty Dispensation coming up in a matter of months, the preceding events were considered to point to a bleak future. Participants highlighted the fragile political state and the emergence of diverse militia groups as reported in the media that make the threat of violence more imminent. Also, the continued depreciation of the Uganda Shilling coupled with high levels of youth unemployment shatter any hopes for an economic boost. The recent outright and selective violations of the fundamental rights of association and assembly are a characteristic of a neo patrimonial state and a strong pointer to a blurred future for Uganda.

However in keeping with the age old adage, every dark cloud has a silver lining, the bleak scenarios were refuted by some moderates and optimistic participants at the debate who believe that the country is on a progressive, democratic and development path: “I have sat here and all I have heard from my colleagues is prediction of doom and darkness. There is significant progress being made; investments are increasing and the country is peaceful and stable; but all I have heard is negativity, I am really surprised!” said Mr. Hussein Kashillingi in response to the likely scenarios ahead of 2016. He implored the participants to be optimistic and hopeful by trusting the established institutions to maintain stability in the country.

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This highly interactive meeting which held at Protea Hotel brought together more that 50 experts from the academia, religious institutions, political commentators and analysts, government officials and many others from diverse social economic and political backgrounds.

It is expected that a comprehensive ‘Scenarios’ Paper’ will be developed and published to trigger an informed public debate on Uganda’s political and Democratic future. This paper will also be presented and discussed at a National Dialogue on the Road to 2016 which will bring together various political players and stake holders from within and outside Uganda. These scenarios will also be pivotal to Civil Society programming in response to the dynamic environment.