Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Uganda most stable in the region - Poll

June 8, 2009 -- Angelo Izama & Eve Mashoo, Kampala

Uganda is more stable than her East African counterparts, according to a continental socio-economic poll.

The Afrobarometer results released at the Kampala Serena Hotel recently were based on what researchers say Uganda has a healthier mix of the demand and supply of democracy compared to Kenya and Tanzania.

According to Mr Robert Sentamu, chief at Wilksen Agencies, the local research firm that conducted the Uganda study for the series, “It is better to have more demand for democracy and less supply.”

He explained that unlike Kenya where demand exceeds supply and Tanzania where supply exceeds demand, in Uganda the re-introduction of multi-party politics has bolstered demand for democracy as its supply has been kept supple by multi-party competition.

“Whenever there is more supply of democracy then democratic gains are likely to regress since the logical direction is to move away from supply,” he added.
Demand for democracy in Uganda increased over the last four years, the poll said.

The results have important lessons for Uganda, which is heading for an election in less than 20 months on the back of high expectations pushed by contracting public confidence in the ability of government to deliver on bread and butter issues like poverty.

Prof. Ndebesa Mwabustya, a political historian, said the increasing demand for democracy is not only attributable to the multiparty competition but also because the government finds itself facing more calls for accountability over its political projects like the demand for new districts.

The Uganda statistics released by the Afrobarometer and other polls, trust in public institutions has declined drastically.

In 2005, trust in the President was aggregated at 78 per cent but had dropped by 22 percentage points, Parliament fell from 70 per cent in 2005 to 51 in 2008. According to Mr Sentamu, multiparty politics has raised expectations since it holds the hope that change is possible.

Poll results show a worsened situation in Kenya in 2008 due to the elections the previous year which degenerated into violence that killed close to 1,000 people.

The survey indicated that there is no consolidated democracy in Africa, most of them are hybrid regimes. And the demand is rated at 80 per cent and supply 40 per cent.