Uganda’s Independent features CSIS report on risk of instability with NRM decline, Museveni succession

“American Group Predicts Instability Over Succession”  Independent(Kampala) July 22:

Election year 2016 will be a turning point for Uganda, according to a report by the powerful American policy solutions provider, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

As a sign of likely instability, the June 30 report notes that “the NRM is on a long-term trajectory of decline, and thus its survivability by the end of President Museveni’s current presidential term is certainly in doubt.”

Titled “Assessing risks to stability in Sub-Saharan Africa”, the report was commissioned by the Unites States of America’s military Africa Command, AFRICOM, which plans for America’s strategic security interests on the continent. The US government often uses the CSIS reports to project the future and strategise for change. The report is based on events that have toppled regimes that appeared to have a firm grip on power in Egypt, Tunisia, and led to a western-backed armed rebellion in Libya.

. . . .

The report is based on studies in 10 countries; Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda, that it describes as “undergoing the growing pains of democracy”.

It notes: “In Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, and Angola – democracy has little meaning beyond the ritualistic holding of elections in which political space is severely constrained and the winner is generally predetermined”.

Joel Barkan, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa and a specialist on politics and development policy in sub-Saharan Africa whose books about the politics of Sub-Saharan African countries are recommended readings in many universities, wrote the Uganda section of the report.

He notes that change is inevitable by all means either through anointment of a successor by Museveni himself or through the overthrow of Museveni or his chosen successor.

He says the style of Museveni’s governance has grave implications for the future stability of the country because it is highly personalised that the running of the country to a greater extent revolves around Museveni’s personal position.

At the centre of the report lies a big question on whether Museveni will run for a fifth elected term in 2016 at the age of 73 or who will be his successor if he decides to step down and how the succession will be managed not to create disputes both within the party and the country at large.

Although he seems to have an insatiable desire to remain in power, Barkan counsels, Museveni should be realistic enough to know he does not have much time left and the sooner he drafts his end game the better for him and his country.

The CSIS Africa Program homepage for the “Stress Testing African States” reports provides an overview and gateway to the details of the studies.

Another good new read:  “A Middle-Income Uganda:  Aiming for Mediocrity and Failing” at the LSE Africa blog.

Ongoing East African Food Crisis Continues to Worsen

“Famine in East Africa: A Catastrophe in the Making,” Der Speigel:

Eastern Africa is baking under a merciless sun; the last two rainy seasons have brought no precipitation at all. It is said to be the worst drought since 1950. And hunger comes at its the heels. In Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda, people are suffering like they haven’t in a long while. The UN estimates that some 12 million people are already faced with hunger. And that is likely just the beginning.

There are many indications that the situation will only worsen in the coming weeks. For the moment, many of the regions in eastern Africa are classified by the UNHCR as “emergency” areas. But on Wednesday, the UNHCR declared famine in two regions in southern Somalia and said that it could spread unless enough donors can be found to help those in need. “If we don’t act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months,” said Mark Bowden, humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

It is a catastrophe that has been a long time in coming. Experts have been warning of the approaching famine for months and the causes are clear. They also know that the current disaster won’t be the last. As a result of climate change, it has become increasingly the case that rainy seasons fail to materialize in the region. Adding to the problem, the population in the countries currently suffering has quadrupled in recent decades, from 41 million to 167 million. Plus, aid organizations tend to budget most of their money for emergency situations, leaving little left over for wells, fertilizer, seeds and efforts to teach farmers how to make the most from their plots of land — all measures that could forestall the next disaster.

Somalia has been especially hard hit because the Islamists from the al-Shabab militia, who are fighting against the country’s government, have chased almost all aid organizations out of the country.  .  .  .

.  .  .  .

Despite the difficulties, the WFP has managed to more or less rebuild the harbor in recent years. Warships from the European Union anti-piracy mission Atalanta guide freighters full of aid supplies through the pirate infested waters and into the harbor.  .  .  .

. . . .

An equally large problem is the phenomenon known in aid circles as “donor fatigue.” People around the world are becoming tired of sending money to Africa, where nothing ever seems to change. Just last year, the WFP asked rich countries for $500 million to combat hunger on the Horn of Africa. They were unable to raise even half of that. And that despite the fact that the scientists working for the US-based Famine Early Warning System have long been warning that first the crops, then the animals and finally the people themselves would begin dying should the rainy season fail to materialize.

“Refugees flee famine stricken Somalia”, NPR

New Report on Uganda’s Defense Spending Plans

A release on businesswire.com highlights a report from consultants BMI on Uganda’s expected defense budget in coming years:

In 2010, BMI estimates that Uganda’s defence spending totalled US$450mn, up 37.21% from US$328mn in 2009. Per capita spending is still very low by global standards, at US$13.30. Defence expenditure was equal to 2.3% of GDP, a normal level for developed countries but quite low compared to some other African countries. Defence accounted for 12.9% of government spending, high by developed country standards, if not those of emerging markets in unstable regions. Therefore the expenditure reflects the small size and moderate level of development of the Ugandan economy, as well as the country’s military commitments.

In 2011, BMI expects defence spending to grow more slowly in nominal dollar terms, growing 4.72% to US$471mn, or US$13.50 per capita. In constant price terms, this represents a drop of 3%, though as a proportion of government expenditure, defence will rise to 13.4%.

Over the forecast period, as Uganda’s economy grows, and with regional risks and Uganda’s position as a military power in the region increasing, BMI expects defence spending to rise rapidly, peaking at 36.52% growth in 2014 in nominal dollar terms.

Uganda is therefore likely to follow the trend seen across Africa of heavy investment in military capacity over the coming years, with defence a major government priority. The wave of investment will taper down in the second half of this decade as the army takes delivery of new equipment, but growth will still remain relatively high. By 2019, we expect defence expenditure to total US$2.150bn, or US$47.89 per head still low by rich country standards, and remaining at 2.3% of GDP, but accounting for a huge 23.6% of government spending.
. . . .
Gen Aronda Nyakairima, Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces said that Ugandan troops are now able to participate in international peacekeeping missions, a signal of intent that the country, while still relatively poor, is ready to make its presence felt internationally, including theatres outside East Africa. Kampala has shown itself to be increasingly willing to step in to protect its interests and fight militants. Its armed forces, having had a considerable amount of success against the LRA, can be considered among East Africa’s strongest.

Internally, tensions have been rising in the run-up to 2011 elections. Some fear the army could intervene in the polls, and even that the military sees itself as an extension of the ruling party due to the latters militaristic policies. Therefore concerns have been raised that the army could intervene on the governments side in a disputed election, which could potentially lead to an escalation in violence and damage Uganda’s international reputation. After Kenya’s troubled 2007 election, there are serious concerns about the potential for political violence in Uganda, as an entrenched government faces a fractious and frustrated opposition.

Uganda Election one month out–the polls

Is the Ugandan election a foregone conclusion at this point?  Africa Confidential has said sort of yes and sort of no.  It seems that there is something of a consensus that the multiplicity of opposition candidates means no one of them can really rival Museveni.  On the other hand, does Museveni clearly have 50% support in his own right? And does that matter to the official outcome of the election?

The Daily Monitor has a fascinating story about the status of the polling and the media reporting on the polling that indicates a great deal about the actual situation in Uganda right now, and how little is actually known:

When an opinion poll by AfroBarometer/Wilsken was published last December, it was the first indicator of the possible public mood.

The poll inevitably caused celebration among the NRM camp and angry protests among the opposition and their supporters.

Amid all the heated reaction to this poll, what most for and against it forgot to note was that the final question of the poll asked the respondents who they thought had sent AfroBarometer to conduct the poll. Over 63 percent of respondents said they believed AfroBarometer had been sent by the government.

The fact that such a large number of respondents believed the poll had been commissioned by the NRM government (an interested party in the 2011 election) was the very point that nullifies the 66 percent lead that the poll showed NRM candidate Yoweri Museveni to be enjoying, since it proved that respondents were playing it safe and responding out of fear.

Planting seeds
However, it was the first major poll of the 2010 campaign season and as such was at least a starting point. Had it stopped at that, many people might have reflected on it and it might have shaped perceptions of what February 2011 might bring.

Then two weeks later, the New Vision published results of what it called its own poll, which put Museveni at 65 percent. This too was met with protests and accusations that as a government-owned paper the New Vision obviously had an interest in portraying Museveni as enjoying an unassailable lead.

However, last week when the New Vision published a poll supposedly by the research firm Synovate (formerly Steadman & Associates), supposedly commissioned by the FDC/IPC, and supposedly showing Museveni with a lead of 67 percent, and when Synovate publicly disassociated itself from this New Vision story the following day, then opinion polls for the 2011 general election had reached the point of diminishing returns.

The New Vision had overreached itself. It was now viewed as having planted this story in its pages by fraud and so, of course, the so-called Synovate poll could now be discarded as null and void.

However, it raises a number of questions. For one, if the New Vision could publish a poll it fraudulently claimed had been commissioned by the IPC and was proved to be fraudulent, how could we now trust that the New Vision in its own internal poll that had been honest with that 65 percent result?

And now, come to think of it, how can we be sure of any poll that purports to reflect Ugandan public opinion in 2010 and 2011?

By publishing this fraudulent poll that Synovate publicly dismissed, the election is back into the territory of the unknown.
The mid 60s percentage points that had started taking shape in people’s minds as a figure to believe or dismiss or at least debate, are now irrelevant. . . .

On the always fascinating question of what Kenyan politicians are up to in Uganda:

“As Kenyan leaders troop to Uganda, Museveni makes political capital”, Charles Onyango-Obbo in The East African.

The train builds speed–more warning signs for the Uganda election and the choices ahead

News on the Uganda campaign from Reuters this morning:

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, seeking a fourth term in office, will arrest his main opponent Kizza Besigye if he carries out his own vote count and announces the results, the presidency said on Wednesday.
Besigye said in October his party planned to hold a parallel count of the presidential election expected on February 18, to put pressure on the government and the president to speed up electoral reforms.

Besigye, leading an opposition coalition called Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC), plans to have agents at every polling station who will send results to a tallying centre.

He reiterated on December 6 while campaigning in eastern Uganda that he would announce his own results shortly after the polls close, local media reported.

The presidency said in a statement that Museveni, speaking to media on Tuesday in Jinja, eastern Uganda, had warned Besigye not to declare his own election results.

"The president said Besigye should not think this is Ivory Coast or Kenya. He warned that Besigye will be taking a short-cut to Luzira (maximum security prison). Museveni said even he himself cannot declare his own election results."

Museveni has said the electoral commission is the only institution authorised to declare presidential election results.

Museveni, in power since 1986, is facing a fierce challenge from Besigye, who has made deep inroads in the rural areas that are the president’s traditional support base.

Besigye says he was cheated of victory in the last two elections, in 2001 and 2006, citing rulings by the supreme court that both polls had been marred by massive rigging and intimidation of voters by the army.
. . . .

This presents a very challenging environment for everyone involved in the election. Museveni has "toughed out" calls from the United States (through the State Department) and others to open the Electoral Commission which he unilaterally appointed–and which has been deficient in the past as noted. Now he is threatening the election day operation of the largest grouping of opposition parties.

With the passage of time Museveni seems almost to court more controversy both domestically and internationally. Yet many knowledgeable observers see an opposition that is divided among so many candidates as not to have a real chance to defeat him at the polls this time even as his popularity seems to diminish. It would seem that Raila Odinga’s trip to campaign with Museveni on December 15 when the "Ocampo six" were named may reflect a desire on the part of both these politicians to show to the outside world that they can accept each other and do business on the basis of "realism" in spite of the past.

From the U.S. viewpoint, Museveni continues to receive military and security training and support associated with the AMISOM mission in Somalia, the regional role of Uganda and its military otherwise, and now perhaps in the context of renewed focus on addressing the LRA. Likewise, it is now clear that the Abeyei situation will remain outside the January referendum in Sudan, no matter how well that process may go. The situation in the DRC seems to deteriorate. So in totality what is the policy of the United States, the UK and EU toward the February election?

Are diplomats going to be willing to call the conduct of Uganda’s election as they see it? And if so, publicly or only privately? What about people providing technical assistance? What about the observation missions–diplomacy or assistance? In light of the new QDDR is it the policy of the U.S. administration that it is all diplomacy anyway? See also, “Democracy and Competing Objectives: ‘We need you to back us up.'”

Reporting on Carson talk with African reporters on Wikileaks–“husbands talking about in-laws”

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson spoke from Washington with reporters gathered at embassy locations in Africa. The Saturday Monitor reports from Kampala on the message on the leaks:

. . . .

“They are a snapshot in time but do not reflect the totality of the interests we have.” Wikileaks yesterday dumped more dossiers on African leaders on its website, indicating for instance that Mr Jerry Lanier, the US ambassador in Kampala, notified his superiors in Washington last October, a month after taking his posting here, that President Museveni has “autocratic tendencies”.

Asked during yesterday’s teleconference if he felt embarrassed by the disclosures, Ambassador Carson who spoke from Washington D.C., without offering direct apology described Uganda’s relations with his country as “deep and complex”.

He said: “It is a relationship which we value and we are working to strengthen. We will continue to carry on our relationship with Uganda in the manner which is designed to promote our mutual interest and advance our policy objectives.”

He, however, said the leaks were akin to a husband’s secret, uncharitable remarks about an in-law being made public.
Mr Lanier did not attend the teleconference held at the US Kampala Mission in Nsambya, a city suburb.

Ambassador Carson demanded Uganda holds a “free, fair and open” ballot next year on a level playing field.
“The period for stealing African elections is over. Theft of elections should not be part of the democratic (practice).

This should be a lesson to the whole of Africa,” he said, referring to the hung situation in Ivory Coast where both incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Allasane Ouattara claim to have won the presidential re-run.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Carson yesterday flagged strengthening democracy, supporting economic growth, addressing public health, conflict prevention and tackling transnational threats such as terrorism, human and drug-trafficking as priority areas of engagement with Africa.

* Another interesting link today: new discussion from CFR on “Smarter Measures in Fight Against Piracy”

What does this “Brave New World” of information and communication, openness and secrecy, theft and exposure mean for the future of East Africa?

*Certainly there is much that is tremendously exciting and encouraging in what is going on with “ICT” in Kenya, especially. The exponential worldwide spread of the Ushahidi platform for voluntary citizen action in all sorts of areas–as Foreign Policy’s recognized in naming Ory Okolloh to its Top 100 Global Thinkers list–is an example. Likewise, the M-Pesa money transfer system and its various competitors has created a double “generation skipping technology” for Kenyans, the majority of whom never had a either a landline phone or reasonable access to a bank.

*From Memeburn.com, “20 Kenyan web and tech innovations worth watching”.

*Kenyans all over the world can read the Kenyan papers, watch Kenyan television and listen to Kenyan radio, participate in the Kenyan dialogue and communicate affordably and in “real time’ and with some presumable degree of privacy beyond what would have been feasible in times past–as can citizens of other countries in the region.

*Tools like Mazalendo and the websites of activists like the Mars Group have hugely expanded public access to information about government in Kenya. Recently, the Kenyan Parliament has allowed broadcasting and published documents on-line itself, as have other organizations.

*At the same time, we see with that Wikileaks tools that can be used to promote openness and democracy within states, can be used on a globalized basis by individuals and groups operating outside the rule of law within states and outside democratic accountability. No one elected Assange or the people around him. The underlying documents appear to have been essentially stolen en masse, as opposed to “leaked”. The documents were property of the U.S. government and were created by U.S. public employees doing their jobs. One one hand they were official public records and not private communications, and should have been written with that understanding. At the same time, American law provided in some cases for these to be specifically classified for periods of 10 to 25 years. While many of us get frustrated at the way it can work in practice, the U.S. does have an extremely broad and open “Freedom of Information Act” for review and release of requested information.

*We see in the arts that theft undermines the ability of artists to get paid for their work when they make it available digitally, or even when they don’t willingly do so. A generation has come of age in which vast numbers who wouldn’t steal a CD in a record store will download huge numbers of copyrighted music files without paying.

*I noted long ago the Wikileaks release of the Kroll Report on corruption in the Kenyan government. I have felt that was a public service–it was a specific document that should have been finished and released in the first place, and it would have been dangerous for anyone to publish it in Kenya because of the legitimate fear of unlawful repression. Amnesty International gave an award last year to Wikileaks for its work making available information on Kenya’s extrajudicial killings. Does that mean that it would be appropriate for someone to steal and publish all or most of Kenya’s diplomatic correspondence? Uganda’s? China’s? India’s? What about central bank records? All private bank records? All police records? All records of a civil society organization or a political party? All communications among members of parliament? Who decides?

*Technology is opening vast new possibilities but our moral judgment and the means by which we evaluate and make decisions about what is appropriate may not be well prepared.

*When I was contacted by the New York Times when they were working on their story about the withheld IRI Kenya exit poll (initially in July 2008 after it was released by UCSD at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, but before IRI retracted its previous statement that it was invalid), I agreed to be interviewed and tell the reporter what I knew. I related a comment the Ambassador made to me personally about one Kenyan politician, but told them that I was not comfortable with that being published because it was in fairness a private conversation, and that the Ambassador was entitled to his opinion, as opposed to specific actions that involved my job and that I was concerned about. These things are a difficult judgment.

Millennium Challenge Corporation releases country scores for FY 2011 eligibility determinations

The MCC Board is to make decisions on eligibility of individual countries for Compact or Threshold status on December 15. The MCC uses 17 indicators in three categories to rate the performance of eligible countries against their peers as a key input in the selection process. Here are links to the scorecards for East Africa and the overall "Scorebook" with more information.

Kenya Scorecard

Uganda

Rwanda

Ethiopia

Tanzania

MCC 2011 Scorebook

Tanzania Update

Reuters: “Tension mounts in Tanzania over delayed vote”:

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzanian police used teargas to disperse opposition supporters in the commercial capital on Monday as tension rose due to delays in releasing the results of Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

The protesters in Dar es Salaam were angry at the outcome of a council election run alongside Sunday’s national votes that are expected to give President Jakaya Kikwete another five years at the helm of east Africa’s second largest economy.

While opinion polls show his lead narrowed as his main opponent Willibrod Slaa of the Chadema party campaigned hard on an anti-corruption platform, analysts predict Kikwete’s pledge to keep fighting poverty should hand him a final term.

Members of the opposition said the delays were in areas where their candidates were likely to win parliamentary seats.

“The situation is tense … I have received reports that police have used teargas in Mwanza, Arusha and Dar es Salaam. People are restless because they want the results to be made public,” said Mwesiga Baregu, Chadema campaign manager.

“The situation is bad. We have reached a point where we might see bloodshed, just like what happened in Kenya when the election results were delayed.”

Violence erupted after Kenya’s 2007 election following delays in releasing results and accusations that the incumbent Mwai Kibkai had stolen the vote.

BURNING TYRES

Police said they used water cannon and teargas to disperse the crowds outside a polling station in Dar es Salaam.

“Riot police were called in after crowds burnt tyres on the road and damaged at least one vehicle at Tandika area in Dar es Salaam,” Temeke Regional Police Commander David Miseme told reporters on Monday.

“At least 15 people were arrested. No injuries have been reported so far.”

Tanzania’s electoral authorities said they would issue more results on Tuesday after a handful were released giving Kikwete an early lead.

International observers said the poll was well-organised and well-conducted on the whole, but the East African Community’s election observer mission to Tanzania said it too was concerned by the delays in releasing of the poll results.

“It is very slow compared to other East African countries. It is taking too long, we don’t know the reasons,” Abdul Karim Harelimana, head of the EAC election observer mission to Tanzania told Reuters in Dar es Salaam.

Kikwete led with 66.94 percent of the vote while Slaa garnered 17.36 percent in 10 of the 239 constituencies where results have been released.

The results covered constituencies with a combined total of less than 60,000 votes among 19.6 million registered voters.

Transparency International Annual Corruption Perception Index released [corrected and updated]

The new Transparency International corruption perception rankings for 2010 have been released today.

For East Africa:

66 Rwanda (4.0 score on a scale of 10) [up from 3.3 for 2009]
116 Ethiopia (2.7) [unchanged]
116 Tanzania (2.7) [up from 2.6]
127 Uganda (2.5) [unchanged]
154 Kenya (2.1) [down from 2.2]
170 Burundi (1.8) [unchanged]
172 Sudan (1.6) [up from 1.5]
178 Somalia (1.1–lowest) [unchanged]

The United States dropped to 22nd with a 7.1 score.

The new report was drawn from surveys taken from January 2009 to September 2010.

For these listed East African countries, there was no demonstrated significant change from 2009 to 2010.

Given its methodology, the CPI is not a tool that is
suitable for trend analysis or for monitoring changes in the
perceived levels of corruption over time for all countries.
Year-to-year changes in a country/territory’s score can
result from a change in the perceptions of a country’s
performance, a change in the ranking provided by original
sources or changes in the methodology resulting from TI’s
efforts to improve the index.
If a country is featured in one or more specific data
sources for both of the last two CPIs (2009 CPI and 2010
CPI), those sources can be used to identify whether there
has been a change in perceived levels of corruption in
that particular country compared to the previous year.
TI has used this approach in 2010 to assess country
progress over the past year and to identify what can be
considered to be a change in perceptions of corruption.
These assessments use two criteria:
(a) there is a year-on-year change of at least 0.3 points in
a country’s CPI score, and
(b) the direction of this change is confirmed by more than
half of the data sources evaluating that country.
Based on these criteria, the following countries showed
an improvement from 2009 to 2010: Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador,
FYR Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait and
Qatar. The following countries showed deterioration from
2009 to 2010: the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary,
Italy, Madagascar, Niger and the United States.