The presidential election in Uganda threatens the ideals of democracy


Olivia Caponiti '23

In a controversial election, Mr. Museveni won his sixth presidential term.

President Yoweri Museveni won the Ugandan general election January 14, beginning his sixth presidential term.  The election gained international attention because of allegations of corruption, specifically that the government inflicted violence on the other candidates.  Many citizens of Uganda believe that the government’s actions demonstrate the autocracy and dictatorship of the rulers according to The New York Times.  Mr. Karl Haeseler, Director of Educational Technology, previously visited the Sacred Heart sister schools in Uganda and learned about the lives of these citizens firsthand.

Mr. Museveni was the only candidate allowed to display posters throughout the country.  Courtesy of

Mr. Museveni ran against ten candidates from around the country.  Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, more commonly known as Mr. Bobi Wine, was the most prominent competitor and denies his loss in the presidential race.  The results of the election revealed Mr. Museveni won 58.6 percent of the votes while Mr. Wine polled 34.8 percent, according to  Nonetheless, Mr. Wine claims that the President rigged the ballots to secure his win and that he is the rightful winner of the election.

“We are going to show the world the evidence of our claim to victory,” Mr. Wine said, according to

Since its founding in 1800, the Society of the Sacred Heart established nearly 160 schools all around the world.  Two schools in the network, the Sacred Heart Primary School in Kyamusansala Hill and St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School for Girls are located in Uganda.  Sacred Heart Greenwich made it a priority to support these schools through training programs, donating goods, and providing tuition for students each year.

In the past, Mr. Haeseler participated in several service trips to Uganda with Sacred Heart student and faculty members.  On most visits, teachers from every subject would work with the Ugandan educators of the same discipline.  While visiting, they spent time with students and families from Uganda and installed enhanced technology within the school buildings.  Mr. Haeseler spoke about his opinions and knowledge about how Mr. Museveni stayed in power for so many years.

“The corruption in the country is linked to its history,” Mr Haeseler said.  “When the British imposed arbitrary borders in Africa, they forced many rivaling tribes into one country.  Mr. Museveni is from an area of Uganda that houses the largest of these tribes.  They are the wealthiest, most powerful, and most influential people in the country so they are able maintain Mr. Museveni’s presidency.”

The Sacred Heart Primary School in Kyamusansala Hill is a part of the Sacred Heart network of schools.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Primary School Kyamusansala Alumnae

Government authorities arrested Mr. Wine and other candidates several times based on claims that they were not following proper coronavirus guidelines, which many assert are false accusations.  In addition, the government robbed the candidates and stripped them from the right to have protective body guards, according to The New York TimesExperts believe that the corruption does not only affect the candidates, but all the people of Uganda.  The allegations of election fraud cast doubt on the entire Ugandan system of democracy, according to

Although the Ugandan people’s sense of welcoming impressed Mr. Haeseler during his visits, he still felt the effects of the tense political situation in the area.  He spoke about a time that he witnessed the prevalent government corruption during his visit.

“The last time I traveled to Uganda was right around an election year and I could just feel the tension was there,” Mr. Haeseler said.  “I would see posters for Museveni all over the airport, no other candidate’s.  I asked my friend why we can only see his photos and not the others.  He said that only Museveni is allowed to display pictures.  Restrictions like these are the reasons why it is so difficult to unseat him.  Therefore, in my opinion, anyone who has been in power for 35 years and makes their own rules is basically a dictator.”

Featured Image by Olivia Caponiti ’23