Uganda's Museveni Sued Over Bid For Fourth Term

Maguru Ruhinda, a former army captain and lawyer, wants the high court in the east African nation to quash Museveni’s nomination as the ruling party’s chairman and flagbearer at the election due next February.

Ruhinda told Reuters on Tuesday the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party barred him from opposing Museveni, in power since 1986, at party elections this month.

Ruhinda has sued Museveni and the NRM’s secretary general, Amama Mbabazi, over his exclusion in the internal party vote.

“I obtained the high court summons …and both the party secretary general and Museveni have 14 days to file their defence and then hearings will commence,” Ruhinda said.

NRM spokesman Ofwono Opondo declined to comment, saying he did not have sufficient information.

Museveni, seeking to extend his reign to 30 years with a new five-year term, has been at the helm since his National Resistance Army insurgents seized power from a short-lived military junta.

He embraced a no-party model of democracy to end the sectarianism that plagued post-colonial Ugandan politics, and foreign donors praised his liberal economic management.

In the past decade, however, support at home has fallen and relations with the West have frayed because of mounting accusations by the opposition and rights groups that his leadership has turned autocratic and corrupt.

Political analysts say Museveni, whose share of the vote has dwindled at each of the last three elections amid allegations of increased rigging, could face his stiffest challenge yet if the opposition coalition holds together.

Some analysts are dismissing little-known Ruhinda’s court challenge as a scheme by Museveni to portray the NRM’s internal systems as democratic, where an aggrieved member can seek redress in court.

“My thinking is that this guy is just a project to show the world how NRM is a democratic party where everyone can seek justice,” said Nicholas Ssengoba, a newspaper columnist. Reuters