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Uganda, Government

Since independence in 1962 the form of Uganda’s government has changed frequently in response to struggles for power. It was initially a parliamentary democracy with the queen of England and, later, the king of Buganda as ceremonial head of state, until a 1966 constitution created a highly centralized presidential system under Milton Obote. Idi Amin overthrew the government in 1971 and ruled as a military dictator until he was ousted in 1979. Obote regained control of the country in 1981 and ruled autocratically until he was overthrown in 1985. Yoweri Museveni eventually came to power in 1986 and established a mixed presidential and parliamentary system. Museveni appointed an executive cabinet and transformed the military council, which helped him come to power, into a legislative body that was greatly expanded by elections in 1989. Museveni’s government held national elections again in 1996 but prohibited political party activity, and all candidates competed on a nonparty basis. In a national referendum in 2000, Ugandan voters overwhelmingly chose to retain the country’s nonparty system of government rather than switch to a multiparty system.

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