Uganda party executive backs 4th term for Museveni
KAMPALA, (Reuters) – The leadership of Uganda’s ruling party has endorsed President Yoweri Museveni as its candidate for the next presidential election in 2011, a senior party official said on Tuesday. Museveni, believed to be aged about 65, has ruled the former British colony since he seized power in 1986, ending the country’s darkest days under Idi Amin and Milton Obote. Daudi Migereko, parliamentary chief whip of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), said a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) had agreed unanimously “that the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni should continue beyond 2011”. “CEC’s position, though, will have to be presented to the national delegates’ conference which is the organ that chooses our candidate,” he told Reuters. Ranked as east Africa’s third largest economy behind Kenya and Tanzania, landlocked Uganda has been attracting a second look from foreign investors, largely because of the discovery of significant oil reserves. Museveni has not said publicly whether he will offer to be the party’s candidate in 2011. Most observers say he is likely to stand for election to a fourth term and will probably win.
The former rebel has won praise for his management of the economy but has attracted criticism from human rights groups for corruption and cracking down on the opposition. [ID:nLE656459]
Although the NRM’s presidential candidate is officially picked by the national delegates’ conference, expected to take place in mid-2010, the CEC has overarching influence and often determines who stands on the party’s ticket.
In 2005, Museveni’s government amended Uganda’s 1995 constitution, scrapping a two-term limit on the presidency and allowing him to stand for re-election until he is 75.
If he runs, Museveni is likely to face off against his strongest opponent, Kiiza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change party, whom he has beaten twice.
Several opposition parties recently formed an Inter Party Cooperation initiative under which all opposition parties will field a joint candidate in the election.
Human Rights Watch said in December impunity for past electoral violence and abuses in Uganda could mar the 2011 vote and increase the chances of instability during the election.