One of the most popular forums at every UNAA convention has been the Political Forum where attendees get the opportunity to face off against visiting Uganda politicians and ask them the very difficult questions of the day. One perennial topic has been the literal elimination of presidential term and age limits.
In fully fledged democracies, the main importance of term limits stems from its positive impact on power alternation which, in turn, contributes to democratic growth. Term limits offer a periodic guarantee of personnel change, and thus enhance the possibility of change of party in government. This is significant, as power alternation is an important feature of a democratic system of government.
Prolonged time in office allows for greater centralization and personalization of power and deeper entrenchment of informal patronage networks. Prolonged tenure also creates an accountability deficit that allows for an increase in corruption.
History has shown that power alternation is important for the growth of democracy whereas in life-presidencies, power transitions are frequently orchestrated by the gun. By increasing the likelihood of change, term limits also increase the chance that power contestation will take place in a non-violent manner. In spite of constitutional term limits, many leaders have not resisted the call of power retention and sought to extend their tenure beyond the terms mandated in their country’s constitutions.
Please join us as we ask the visiting politicians from Uganda to address this, and other, very contentious issues during the Political Forum at the upcoming UNAA Convention in Seattle.
Please note that this year’s forum will be presented in a debate format featuring 5 members of the public and opposition Members of Parliament on one side, and 5 members of the public and Uganda Government representatives on the other.