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President Yowerei Museveni arrives at his inauguration in Kololo, Uganda President Yowerei Museveni arrives at his inaugration, in Kololo, Uganda, May 12, 2021 (AP photo by Nicholas Bamulanzeki).

In Uganda, Deepening Divisions Will Test Museveni’s Autocratic Rule

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

KAMPALA, Uganda—On May 12, after 35 years in office, Yoweri Museveni was sworn in for his sixth elected term as president of Uganda. The ceremony marked the end of a year-long ritual centered on what was misleadingly called an “election.” Shots were fired, money changed hands and then, almost as an afterthought, Ugandans went to the polls in mid-January. In the preceding and subsequent months, opposition supporters have been harassed, beaten, abducted, tortured and even killed.

The process is better understood as a manifestation of power than as a choice about who wields it. The 2021 election did not unseat Museveni—it was never likely to. Instead, it made plain the reality of his power. His regime has survived this long because of its ability to absorb the social fractures that toppled past dictatorships. ...

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