News24

Opposition MPs plan to impeach Museveni

2012-03-16 22:10

Kampala - Ugandan opposition lawmakers are planning to impeach Yoweri Museveni over corruption, but face an uphill task in removing the veteran president who has violently suppressed economic protests since early last year.

The action could further dent the leader's image and exacerbate popular discontent in the east African country that is the continent's top coffee exporter.

The opposition say Museveni has failed to tackle inflation and graft scandals in his cabinet, provoking violent opposition-led protests over the cost of living.

So far, only 40 of the required 125 MPs, or one-third of the lawmakers in a parliament where Museveni holds a majority, have signed up to remove the president, said Semujju Nganda, the lawmaker spearheading the effort to remove Museveni.

"The constitution says we only need to prove that his actions are inimical to the economy and right now what Museveni is doing makes such a job the easiest in the world," said Nganda, a member of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

"His fiscal indiscipline has triggered record inflation in this country, [and] his hands are in every corruption scandal."

Museveni last year convincingly trounced his arch rival, FDC leader Kizza Besigye, to secure a fourth term in office, but is under increased Western criticism for growing authoritarianism, human rights abuses and failing to root out entrenched graft.

A crackdown to quell protests over the soaring cost of living last year left at least nine people dead.

Six ministers have resigned from Museveni's government in less than six months over corruption scandals.

Uganda, which discovered oil deposits and aims to be a top-50 crude oil producer, saw inflation hit an 18-year high of 30.4% in October, but this has since slowed for a third straight month to 25.7% in January.

Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) controls the country's assembly and his supporters say it is near impossible to secure passage of a motion removing the president.

"They're fantasising but its their right to engage in a bit of that," said presidential spokesman, Tamale Mirundi.

Analysts said Museveni was unlikely to be dislodged.

"Let's not forget though that [impeachment] can only happen in a democracy and Uganda isn't one. So no matter how many or grave Museveni's blunders are, thinking of impeachment is day-dreaming," said Fredrick Golooba, a political commentator.