Uganda. In February, for the first time in over twenty
years general elections were held with the participation of
several parties. The elections were held in a tense
atmosphere but could be carried out without more difficult
intermezzon. However, election observers from the EU
criticized a number of shortcomings in the arrangements.
CountryAAH, President Yoweri Museveni was declared victorious in the
presidential election with close to 60% of the vote against
just over 37% for chief challenger Kizza Besigye. The latter
claimed that there was extensive cheating and appealed the
result, but the protest was rejected by the Supreme Court.
However, the judging panel disagreed; three out of seven
wanted to give Besigye the right, and the court acknowledged
that the election was marked by major shortcomings: voting
lengths were incomplete, many errors were committed during
the counting of votes, there had been bribes, threats and
violence and many invalid votes had been approved.
Nevertheless, HD did not find that the deficiencies had
affected the election results to a greater extent. In the
parliamentary elections, Museveni's party won the National
Resistance Movement two-thirds majority. Another five
parties and a number of partyless candidates were elected.
Kizza Besigye got his election campaign disrupted by legal
processes which he claimed were staged for political
reasons. He was acquitted of charges of rape but was brought
to trial for treason, charged with conspiracy with the rebel
movement Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
In May, LRA leader Joseph Kony appealed through a
videotape about an end to the 20-year war in northern
Uganda. Museveni promised amnesty to all LRA members if
peace talks yielded results. The International Criminal
Court (ICC) in The Hague emphasized that Uganda is obliged
to extradite the accused five top LRA leaders and had them
summoned via Interpol. Through mediation by the government
in semi-autonomous southern Sudan, peace negotiations began
in the regional capital of Juba and after a few weeks the
parties agreed on a ceasefire. The rebels began to gather in
two neutral camps in southern Sudan and the Ugandan state
allocated about SEK 2.3 billion. for the rehabilitation of
the 2 million people in northern Uganda who became homeless
during the war. However, the suspicion between the rebels
and the government remained strong. The ceasefire was
extended in rounds, but the negotiations proceeded slowly
and with several interruptions. The UN appointed
Mozambique's former President Joaquim Chissano as mediator.
As a result of the rich G8 countries' pledge on debt
relief for African countries in 2005, Uganda was released in
May from almost 90% of its foreign debt of the equivalent of
more than SEK 30 billion.