Steady Progress? 30 Years of Museveni and the NRM in Uganda
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni addressed Ugandans for the first time on 29 January 1986 as national leader: “No one should think that what is happening today is a mere change of guard; it is a fundamental change in the politics of our country”. Since Uganda had been led by seven presidents and a presidential commission in the preceding seven years, few could have expected that Museveni would remain at the helm 30 years later. The National Resistance Army and its political wing, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), took power after a bush war that began in 1980. The NRM’s ten-point programme, debated and agreed during 1984, sought to “usher in a new and better future for the long suffering people of Uganda on the back of a grassroots campaign to seize power”. It promised a peaceful, democratic future, free from corruption, and with basic services and economic opportunity for all citizens. Thirty years on, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between the Ugandan state, its dominant political party (the NRM) and its leader (Museveni). On 18 February, Ugandans will vote in presidential and legislative elections. This Briefing Note considers the extent to which the promises of the ten-point programme have been fulfilled.