Yoweri Museveni has been in power as President of Uganda since 1986. At that time, the National Resistance Army (NRM), under Museveni's leadership, removed General Tito Okello from power. Museveni has been democratically elected three times since then, most recently in 2006. However, voter intimidation, violence and other irregularities marred the 2006 elections. This, along with other recent developments - such as the abolition of Presidential term limits - have caused some concern over Museveni, who was once seen as a promising, progressive leader by much of the world.
Uganda's government may best be described as a presidential republic. The President of Uganda is both the head of state and the head of government, and is elected by popular vote to a five-year term. The Legislature is known as the National Assembly, which has 330 members. Many of these seats are held for special interests, including seats for a foman representative from each district, as well as members of other special interest groups.
From the time Museveni became president in 1986, Uganda operated under a system of no-party politics. This was designed as an attempt to prevent intertribal rivalries from dividing government. While political parties were not banned, they could not directly field candidates for elections. This system ended after a referendum in 2005, in which the people of Uganda voted to return to a multi-party system. Museveni's NRM dominated the first party-based election, earning 205 seats in the National Assembly.
Despite efforts at unity, there are still internal conflicts which plague Uganda. Most notably, the Ugandan government still struggles with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern part of the country, a 20+-year rebellion that has created a massive humanitarian crisis. To learn more about the LRA, go to http://www.globalsecurity.org.
Being rich in natural resources, Uganda has the potential for rapid, sustainable growth and development. However, Uganda is currently one of the world's poorest countries, due mainly to political instability and mismanagement. The nation is still recovering from the Idi Amin era, and while development and stability are a reality for Kampala and the area around the capital, much of Uganda lags behind. The Museveni-led government has improved infrastructure and reduced inflation to a manageable level, which in turn has encouraged foreign investment.
Uganda's industries are mainly related to agriculture, such as sugar, tobacco and cotton textiles. Uganda is also Africa's leading producer of coffee. Recently, large scale production of building materials has resumed, and cement and steel production have become important sectors in the national economy.
While Uganda's economic future is promising, there are a number of challenges it must overcome to meet its potential. Corruption in government has made it difficult to gain the confidence of foreign investors, while internal conflict has prevented Uganda from achieving a true sense of stability.