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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Uganda reveals democracy question
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
Museveni's critics fear he is seeking a third term in office
Uganda's electoral board has published the question to be asked in next month's referendum on whether multiparty politics should be restored.

It is: "Do you agree to open up the political space to allow those who wish to join different organisations/ parties to do so to compete for political power?"

The electoral board said it had consulted closely with both sides of the debate before deciding on the question.

Since President Yoweri Museveni came to power 19 years ago, Uganda has operated a unique political system which severely restricted political parties.

Five years ago a similar referendum backed keeping the "movement" system.

Last month, Uganda's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding a referendum on the country returning to a full multi-party democracy.

The motion was backed by all but 21 MPs and is being pushed for by Mr Museveni who says "it must go ahead".

Third term

The one-party movement system of government was introduced to try and prevent the chaos and ethnic conflicts that plagued Uganda throughout the 1970s and early 80s.

At present political parties are allowed to exist but candidates for office must run as individuals - not representatives of a party.

Some had argued that holding a referendum would be too expensive but Mr Museveni has said the people must decide.

The Ugandan government and opposition parties all support a return to multi-party politics ahead of elections in a year's time.

Mr Museveni's critics, however, fear that as the constitution is amended to bring in multiparty elections, it will also be altered to let the president seek a third term in office, from which he is currently barred.


SEE ALSO:
UK aid cut pressures Uganda
29 Apr 05 |  Africa
Uganda police battle protesters
31 Mar 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Uganda
09 Apr 05 |  Country profiles


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