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article imageThe plight of the Ugandan Opposition Party

By Paul Iddon     Apr 9, 2012 in Politics
Kampala - The Ugandan opposition leader held a rally last week following the Ugandan government declaring the party illegal; they are protesting against the rising cost of living amongst other things and are facing a crackdown by authorities for doing so.
Reuters, All Africa and Daily Monitor have given damning reports about the political situation in Uganda. The leader of the recently banned opposition Kizza Besigye is holding street rallies in protest of this. The 'walk to work' protest were launched a year ago following President Yoweri Museveni winning the elections over Besigye for the third time. Museveni's has been in power for 25 years.
The country's Attorney General Peter Nyombi outlawed Mr. Besigye's Activists for Change (A4C) group stating that it is "dangerous to the peace and order in Uganda."
Previous protests have resulted in violence as police used tear gas and rubber bullets in order to break up demonstrators resulting in chaos on the streets. A4C states that is wants political change through peaceful means of demonstration and protests. They are supported by numerous international rights groups whom are against its ban. Human Rights Watch in particular stated that the Ugandan government is obliged and has a duty to respect peoples rights to free speech, assembly and demonstration.
The recent protests denouncing Museveni saw one protester waving a placard that declared the former infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin to be better than the current president.
According to Nicholas Ssengoba a political analyst, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party is trying to curtail A4C's campaign by banning it, however he states this may work against them as the A4C has garnered a lot of popularity and has a strong resonance with the plight of the opposition. Banning them therefore may make them more resilient and more empowered in their defiance to the ruling party.
These recent protests therefore appear to be signalling a moment of truth. The coming days may decide whether Besigye will be able to maintain an effective organized opposition against the ruling party.
He has defiantly stated that:
"This question of banning A4C activities by the government is a futile attempt. You can ban a name but you cannot ban personalities like Ssemujju, Besigye..."
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