Museveni rule 'fuelling discontent'

2012-04-06 07:00
Kampala - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's growing reliance on a trusted inner circle and his suppression of opposition is fuelling widespread resentment and could lead to violent conflict, the International Crisis Group says.

The Brussels-based ICG warned on Thursday that the recent discovery of oil and Museveni's increasingly personalised - and coercive - style of rule after 26 years in power could see Uganda return to the violence witnessed under previous rulers such as Idi Amin.

The group's Africa Programme Director, Comfort Ero, said: "Unless he changes course, however, tension will grow.

"Considering Uganda's violent past, conflict might then become more deadly."

After seizing power at the head of a rebel army in 1986, Museveni was hailed in the West as a new breed of African ruler after he railed against the ageing despots plaguing the continent.

But after more than a quarter of a century of his rule, anger over his increasingly centralised style of government is spurring growing popular resentment and public protest, the report said.

"The main cause of the social unrest is a slow and continuing shift from constitutional-style government to patronage-based, personal rule," the report said.

Museveni last February won a crushing victory at the polls against veteran opposition firebrand Kizza Besigye but that victory was marred by claims of widespread voter bribery and opposition candidates refused to accept the result.

Since then at least 10 people have been killed in a brutal government crackdown on opposition protests over rising fuel and food prices and on Wednesday the government officially banned the opposition coalition group behind the demonstrations.

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