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Uganda’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, in his well-known hat at a rally of supporters, Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2016 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Catastrophic Victory: Museveni’s Re-Election and Uganda’s Future

, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, was eerily quiet on Saturday, Feb. 20, the day the Ugandan Electoral Commission announced the results of the presidential election held two days before. Even in Kabalagala, a lively district where people are usually partying at any time of day, the streets were empty. A few dozen young men sat huddled around a TV in a betting parlor, but they weren’t waiting for the election results; instead, a soccer game of the English Premier League flickered on the screen. “We know already who will win the elections,” one of them said. “We are more interested in how Arsenal is playing today,” he added, before turning his attention back to the screen.

The official results proclaimed a victory for incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, whose 61 percent of the vote was enough to avoid a second-round run-off, but not an overwhelming majority compared to what sitting presidents often garner in other African elections. But in Kampala, nobody celebrated Museveni’s victory. There were no cavalcades of cars, no spontaneous outbursts of joy in public squares. On the contrary, the military and police patrolled the streets, and civilians stayed at home. In the end, Museveni himself canceled the official celebrations. ...

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