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Biden shuns Museveni on the Democracy Summit

A picture of USA President, H.E Joe Biden(left) and Uganda President, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni(right)

President Yoweri Museveni has not been invited to the international virtual Summit for Democracy scheduled for December 9-10, 2021 (next week), to be hosted by USA President, Joe Biden.

A total of 111 nations worldwide have been invited to participate of which 15 are from Africa. From the East African region, only Kenya is on the invitation list.  December 9th is the International Anti-corruption Day while December 10th is the International Human Rights Day.

The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies. It will also provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

Specifically, the summit will be anchored on three themes namely;

  • Defending against authoritarianism
  • Addressing and fighting corruption
  • Promoting respect for human rights

One can only guess why the man with Africa’s biggest political and military muscles – Gen. Museveni is not on the list of participants. It is possible that Uganda has not been invited due to her lack of democratic credentials.

It is recalled that during his inaugural speech after swearing-in for the 6th Presidential term in office, Museveni made it abundantly clear to all western powers that he does not need lectures about democracy.

“It is quite comic and laughable to hear of some actors in the world giving us lectures about democracy. You give me lectures about democracy…What are your credentials?” Museveni asked on May 12, 2021, while speaking at Kololo Independence Grounds after he was sworn in as President of Uganda.

The SecretKnown is that Uganda’s democratization process has been on a backsliding trajectory over the past three electoral cycles. Scholars have characterized Museveni’s government as a hybrid regime that blends democracy with elements of authoritarianism.

Political parties exist but the unwritten rule is that they are not permitted to mobilize and organize between elections. The space for civil society organizations that work on democracy, accountability, human rights, constitutionalism, and rule of law is almost closed.

Yet, when elected leaders fail to match their pro-democracy rhetoric with action, it is civil society activists who often hold them accountable and push them toward needed reform.

The Presidential elections in Uganda have become predictable in the sense that for as long as Mr. Museveni is a candidate, only he will be declared winner of the election. He has been declared winner of all the elections he has participated in since 1996.

SecretsKnown has learned that during the two-day Summit for Democracy, leaders of governments will be encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives. These will include domestic and international initiatives that counter authoritarianism, combat corruption, and promote respect for human rights.

It is also understood that civil society will be represented on panels and in townhalls as a part of the official program. Their inclusion is based on a variety of factors including geographic representation, political context, and subject matter expertise.

One key strategy for increasing the impact of these events will be civil society engagement on what governments are committing to and how they can deliver on those commitments.

Categories: Newsletters

1 Comment

MOOCs · January 14, 2022 at 12:53 pm

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