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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Uganda's Referendum 2000: The Silent Boycott
Authors:Bratton, MichaelISNI
Lambright, Gina
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Uganda
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3518588
Abstract:On 29 June 2000, Ugandans went to the polls to select a form of government for their country. The referendum question asked citizens to choose between the existing 'movement' system and a multiparty system. On the surface, the results of Uganda's Referendum 2000 suggest that voters rejected multiparty pluralism in favour of an inclusive, no-party 'movement' system. Yet, a public attitude survey conducted shortly before the referendum tells a somewhat different story. Ugandans clearly give credit to Museveni and the NRM (National Resistance Movement) for their substantial achievements while in government. At the same time, many Ugandans accept the official view that the existing political parties are too closely associated with past conflicts to be entrusted with State power at this time. But the survey also shows that voters were not well-informed about the referendum, confused it with an election of officeholders, and were subjected to political and social cross-pressures during the campaign. Because many citizens felt constrained to express themselves freely, they acted out their political preferences by abstaining from the polls. The authors argue that there was a 'silent' boycott of the referendum among people who were unwilling to side publicly with the referendum boycott but who nonetheless remain open to the prospect of multiparty competition in Uganda. Notes, ref., sum.