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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 15:51 GMT
Postcard from Kampala
1st March 27th Feb 27th Feb 1st Mar 3 March 3 March 6 March 6 March 10 March 12 March 10 March 12 March 14 March 14 March Kariuki Mureithi writes from Kampala at the end of his trip around Uganda during the presidential election campaign.

All roads in Kampala have led to Kololo Airstrip.

This was the venue the electoral commission had chosen to announce the results of Uganda's controversial presidential elections.

Kamapal scene
Many Kampala residents are happy at the result
The city was overflowing with emotion; the streets were invaded by truck loads of chanting Museveni supporters, shouting the president's campaign slogan, "no change".

Museveni's closest rival, Kizza Besigye's supporters could only stand on the roadsides looking dejected, as the chanting mobs milled by.

The green and hilly city has been a beehive of activity during the entire presidential election campaign.

All the six contenders in the race saw Kampala as the most prestigious district to capture; after all it is the country's capital city.

It derives its name from the Luganda "hill of antelopes", because it was once said that the Buganda kings used to graze their impala there.

Originally built on seven hills, the city has a population of 1,200,000.

Restored glory

Though just over 100 years old, the city looks younger, with new wealthy residential areas springing up ll the time.


President Museveni now has five more years
Kampala's development stalled during the years of civil strife that began with the fall of Idi Amin in 1979.

But the city awoke from its slumbers after Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army stormed the town in 1986.

During the election campaign, President Museveni went to great lengths to remind the people that he had restored Kampala's lost glory.

He reminded those who cared to listen that during his 15 year rule, the city had attracted massive investments, making it one of the fastest growing cities in east and central Africa.

But the majority of the city residents seem not have taken Museveni seriously.

Besigye gloom

When it came to cast their votes, the majority sidelined him and instead voted for his main rival and his former personal physician, Kizza Besigye.


But Kizza Besigye and his supporters believe he was cheated of victory
Many felt the swing to Besigye was an indication of the increased frustration of a people who feel that Museveni's liberalisation policy was an act of betrayal.

Many young employees, who migrated to the city from the rural areas in search of work, were laid off following the implementation of the IMF imposed structural adjustment programme, which turned Museveni into a darling of the west.

But now that the majority of Ugandans have given him his last five year term, it remains to be seen how many more enemies, or friends he will make?

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See also:

28 Feb 01 | Africa
Uganda campaign reaching climax
23 Feb 01 | Africa
Ugandan opposition 'intimidated'
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