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Collapse of the Opposition Inter-Party Coalition in Uganda

eCahiers de l’Institut

Éditeur : Graduate Institute Publications

Lieu d’édition : Genève

Publication sur OpenEdition Books : 25 juin 2013

Collection : eCahiers de l’Institut

Année d’édition : 2013


“It’s not so much what you agree upon, what you write on paper, but something intangible that in the end determines the success of political cooperation,” stated the leader of the Uganda People’s Congress Dr. Olara Otunnu. Hoping to put an end to the dominant-party system of Uganda – where President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement had ruled since 1986 – in 2008, four parties of the opposition gathered under the banner of the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC). Their intention was to field a single candidate for the 2011 general election, but the IPC collapsed five months before the election day. Through an analysis of official documents, media reports and primary data obtained from interviews with party leaders, this ePaper examines the dynamics of the negotiations which led to the formation and collapse of this coalition. It argues that the claims by party leaders that the coalition fell because of disagreements over whether or not to participate in the elections are but a veil to cover the much deeper relationship issues between coalition members, in which the real explanation for the IPC’s demise lies. Through identifying common grounds between former coalition members, this ePaper proposes new avenues for further cooperation between opposition parties. Among the several lessons to be drawn from the IPC’s downfall, the author emphasises the need for confidence building measures, in order to deal with the underlying feelings of mistrust among members.


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