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Progress towards Democracy in Africa: Uganda as a Case Study

  • Oliver Furley

Abstract

In recent years there has been considerable progress made by many African states towards more democratic systems of government. This is partly because of international pressure, where foreign aid, whether it is from the World Bank or IMF, or from donor states, is often made conditional upon ‘good governance’, which is measured by, among other things, progress towards democracy and the better observance of human rights. This progress also, results from internal pressures within African countries, especially where technology has vastly improved knowledge and information about world-wide movements towards democracy. Examples of ‘people power’ in Eastern Europe, the Philippines or Indonesia, and scenes of mass protest in many countries have increased African awareness of the power of these movements. The mainspring of African aspirations for democracy, however, comes from Africans themselves, tired of the dictatorial and corrupt regimes of the decades since the 1960s, and determined to force a change. Many of the old leaders have gone, some having been swept away by revolution or civil war, a recent example being President Mobutu of Zaire. In other countries, where leaders cling to the older oligarchic or elitist forms of rule, as in Kenya under President Moi or Zimbabwe under President Mugabe, patience is wearing thin and protest is mounting in favour of more democratic systems.

Keywords

Political Parti Draft Constitution Constitutional Issue Uganda Wildlife Authority Elitist Form 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    At the Paris Peace Conference in November 1998, Uganda and Rwanda took part in discussions over a cease-fire but ‘demanded guarantees and commitments on security at their borders’. President Kabila made commitments regarding democratisation, openness and dialogue, while earlier he had announced that political parties would be legalised in two months’ time. Panafrican News Agency, 28 November 1998, and IRIN Update, 20–26 November 1998. For a general overview of the progress of democracy in Africa, see M. Ottaway (ed.) (1997) Democracy in Africa: The Hard Road Ahead (Boulder, Col.; London: Lynne Rienner); M. Bratton and N. van de Walle (1997) Democratic Experiments in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); J. Widner (ed.) (1994) Economic Change and Political Liberalisation, in Sub-Saharan Africa (Baltimore, Md.; London: Johns Hopkins University Press); and J. Wiseman (ed.) (1995) Democracy and Political Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
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    New Vision (Newspaper), 3 August 1993. These proportions represent a climb-down by the NRC, which had previously considered themselves a sufficiently democratic body to discuss and adopt a draft constitution. It was Major General Mugisha Muntu, Commander of the NRA, who persuaded them that the Constituent Assembly should be very largely a newly-elected body. See Ondoga ori Amaza (1998) Museveni’s Long March, from Guerrilla to Statesman (Kampala: Fountain Publishers), pp. 178–80.Google Scholar
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    ‘Donors’ Darling Losing Its Allure’ was the headline in the Financial Times, 9 December 1998 (though this was chiefly regarding economic performance). The Guardian, however, wrote of Museveni: ‘His no-party system is beginning to look suspiciously like a one-party state. There are growing complaints that by stifling opposition, he is encouraging disaffected Ugandans to turn to rebel groups in the northern and western areas’, Guardian Weekly, Special Report on Uganda, 23 December 1998.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Furley

There are no affiliations available

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