Uganda's referendum 2000: The silent boycott

Type Journal Article - African Affairs
Title Uganda's referendum 2000: The silent boycott
Volume 100
Issue 400
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Page numbers 429-452
On the surface, the results of Uganda's Referendum 2000 suggest that voters rejected multiparty pluralism in favour of an inclusive, no-party, 'movement' system. Yet, a public attitude survey conducted shortly before the referendum tells a somewhat different story. To be sure, Ugandans give credit to President Museveni and the National Resistance Movement for substantial achievements in office. But voters were not well informed about the referendum, confused it with an election of office-holders, and were subjected to political and social cross-pressures during the campaign. Because many citizens felt constrained to express themselves freely, they acted out their political preferences by abstaining from the polls. In short, among persons who sympathized with the idea of multiparty competition - but who were unwilling to side publicly with a stay-away organized by established political parties - there was an extensive 'silent' boycott.

Related studies