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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Multi-party poll divides Ugandan press
Ugandan man puts up referendum poster in Kampala
Reports suggest early turnout has been low

Commentators in Uganda's two main dailies give a mixed reception to the referendum being held on a return to multi-party politics.

The state-owned New Vision, along with one commentator in the independent Daily Monitor, urge Ugandans to "vote massively" to end the current no-party "Movement" political system.

However, several commentators in the Daily Monitor express reservations, with one fearing the vote will only consolidate President Yoweri Museveni's "despotism".

D-day is here. Ugandans go to the polls today in a referendum to choose the political system. Being a public holiday, registered voters should turn up in big numbers and determine how the country should be governed... Tick the tree to choose multi-party system and be proud of your decision.

Editorial in New Vision

I urge all the people of Uganda to vote massively for the restoration of political parties. All the peace-loving people, multi-partyists and especially members of the [opposition] Democratic Party, should vote - Yes for a multi-party system.

J M Kavuma-Kaggwa in Daily Monitor

The era of Movement politics has passed, and the new era, multi-party politics, has dawned. This change is real and we must accept it, instead of behaving like the proverbial ostrich.

Wasswa Ziritwawula in New Vision

The road to dictatorship is paved with democracy... The vote to have a king president, and an election victory for Museveni therefore is exactly what is needed to consolidate despotism.

Charles Onyango-Obbo in Daily Monitor

It would appear, therefore, that today's referendum is meaningless because it asks people to vote on a right already guaranteed under the constitution.

Andrew Mwenda in Daily Monitor

It is unfortunate that although President Museveni and his ruling Movement argue that they have finally embraced multi-partyism, which Uganda's weakened opposition has been pushing all these years, the matter still has to be subjected to a vote... If Ugandans decide to open up the political space to allow political parties to compete for power, that in itself will not be a panacea.

Editorial in Daily Monitor

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

See why the Ugandans have been against multi-party politics in the past

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