State Structure and Political System of Uganda

Political system. In 1962, the Queen of Great Britain remained the head of independent Uganda. In 1963 Uganda became a republic, and its parliament elected the first president of the kabaku (ruler) of Buganda. After the departure of the British, a pseudo-federal democratic constitution was adopted in Uganda, according to which one of its constituent states, Buganda, was endowed with real autonomy, while others – Ankole, Bunyoro, Toro and Busoga – had only nominal autonomy. The rest of the country was directly controlled from the center. The constitution adopted in 1967 provided for the abolition of autonomous subdivisions and the creation of a highly centralized system of government. With the advent of Idi Amin to power in 1971, the constitution was suspended, and after the liquidation of the dictatorial regime, it periodically came into force and then was canceled. Check cancermatters for political system of Uganda.

After seven years of preparatory work and popular discussion, in 1995 the text of the new constitution was ratified. Unlike the constitutions of 1963 and 1967, which were based on the principle of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive, the country’s new basic law contained a mechanism of balances between the three branches of government, which made it somewhat similar to the US constitution. The constitution provided for the election of the president and a majority of members of parliament for a five-year term by popular vote. In order to ensure the representation of women, youth, workers, military personnel and the disabled in the highest legislative body, some parliamentarians were elected in special constituencies. All citizens of the country over the age of 18 had the right to vote.

Political system. The most controversial part of the constitution is the provision for a referendum to be held every five years. Referendums give citizens the opportunity to decide either in favor of using a political system in which individual parties cannot nominate their own candidates, or holding elections on a multi-party basis. However, the constitution contains a provision that during the first five years elections will be held and the government will operate on the basis of a supra-partisan “movement system” that was introduced when the People’s Resistance Army (now the Uganda People’s Defense Forces) led the current government to power in 1986. The first referendum is scheduled for 2000.

Such a system allows the National Resistance Movement, which is the political wing of the rebel army, to exercise control in the country. Every Ugandan has the right to join the movement. Under the 1995 constitution, parliament is given the right to determine the structure of the movement, its powers and the appointment of officials. In 1997, a law was passed providing for the election of the leadership of the movement at a national conference. The presidium of the movement appoints a political commissioner responsible for the work of the secretariat of the movement.

State policy is carried out by a cabinet composed of the president, vice president and ministers, each of whom is appointed by the head of state in consultation with parliament. Legislative powers are vested in the Parliament, which has a single chamber of 282 deputies, in accordance with the constitution. In preparation for the 1996 general elections, Uganda was divided into 214 constituencies. In addition, each of the 45 district councils sent one woman as its representative in parliament, and the remaining 23 parliamentary seats were given to deputies from councils representing the interests of certain groups of the population (workers, military personnel, etc.).

The constitution provides for the complete independence of the judiciary from other branches of government and establishes a three-tier judicial system. Appeals are heard in the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal. The Constitutional Court, composed of five members of the Court of Appeal, determines the conformity of the adopted laws with the constitution. On the proposal of the Judicial Commission, the President appoints judges, who are then approved by Parliament.

Local government. In 1999 the territory of the country was divided into 45 regions. Parliament has the power to create new regions. In accordance with the 1995 constitution, decentralization of power was carried out, significant powers, including the right to collect certain taxes, were granted not only to the administrations of the regions, but also to local authorities at the level of districts and villages. The solution of many tasks that were within the competence of the central ministries has now become the prerogative of the regional executive authorities. Members of local councils from the regional to the village level are elected for four years, with a third of the seats in each council reserved for women. The Constitution also provides for the creation of a number of institutions to oversee government activities in the field of civil rights.

The armed forces of Uganda have approx. 50 thousand military personnel in the ground forces, as well as a small air force. There is no universal conscription, and the armed forces are recruited on a contract basis. The highest military authorities take an active part in the government of the country, however, according to the 1995 constitution, many military functions are transferred to civilian institutions.

Membership in international organizations. Uganda is a member of the UN and its specialized organizations, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Commonwealth led by Great Britain. In addition, she is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the International Olympic Committee. In terms of regional organizations, Uganda is a member of the Common Market for East and South African Countries and the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Development and Drought Control.

Politics of Uganda