Women's Engagement with Political Parties in Contemporary Africa: Reflections on Uganda's Experience

"This paper reviews and reflects on the experience of women’s political engagement in contemporary Uganda after the introduction of multiparty competitive elections in 2006. While the paper explores the recent political changes in Uganda and the experiences of women, it places this in a comparative context, by reflecting briefly on the experiences of other selected countries on the continent. It points out that while women’s representation in politics appears to have improved in Uganda, the concrete reality – particularly in relation to their location within the political parties – still leaves a lot to be desired. Political parties have been a focus of much debate in the recent past because they have a critical role to play in virtually all political systems around the world. They structure national political processes and political contestation, engage in competitive electoral politics, nominate prospective public representatives and political leaders, and compete to run institutions of government. Yet there are still debates about whether or not political parties are tools of democracy or sources of tyranny and repression. "