Uganda’s governance system is drifting towards presidentialism, raising fears of a resurgence of authoritarian rule that could erode past gains of democracy and rule of law.
The warning is part of the research conducted to evaluate the implementation of African Peer Review Mechanism in Uganda.
The study conducted by Open Society Foundation, acknowledges President Yoweri Museveni’s personal commitment to the review mechanism, but faults him for dominating the process to the exclusion of institutions and other players critical to enhancing democracy and good governance.
Samuel Bamulanzeki Tindifa, a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Makerere University and one of the authors of the report, says President Museveni’s tendency of dominating decision-making is a big hindrance to good governance in the country.
//Cue In “It is a problem and we explain it…….
Cue Out…. that is what we mean by presidentialism”//
Bamulanzeki says the so-called Presidentialism has eroded the system of checks and balances, which is critical in governance.
On the implementation of APRM in Uganda, the report says the Peer Review Mechanism governing council, which is supposed to oversee the review process, is faced with credibility problems because of the way it was appointed.
It says majority of the Commissioners on the Governing Council are sympathizers from the ruling NRM with partisan interests, who fight to exclude critical issues in the review.
Bishop Zac Niringiye, the Chairperson of the National Governing council agreed that the council has NRM sympathizers but denied that they compromise the review mechanism.
The report says the president by-passed parliament while establishing the governing council and yet parliament should have debated and agreed on its power, mandate and composition.
The African Peer Review Mechanism commission has in effect not operated under any legal mechanism according the researchers.
Jacqueline Asiimwe Mwesige, a Legal, Gender and Development Consultant says critical issues of governance have selectively being implemented. She says this raises doubts whether government believes in Africa Peer Review or adopted it to please other African Union leaders.