Yoweri Museveni, 71 years old, was re-elected for the fifth time with 60.8% of the vote. Although this is less compared to the 68% in the elections of 2011, he is still far ahead of his nearest rival, Kizza Besigye, who got 35.4% of the vote. Besigye was once Museveni’s personal doctor and had already unsuccessfully competed in three previous elections. Neighbouring countries recognised the results but the Ugandan opposition and Western observers were critical of how the poll was conducted.
Impact on country risk
The outcome of the elections comes as no surprise as Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986, when he seized power following an armed rebellion. Museveni is popular as he is credited with bringing political stability, economic growth and poverty reduction. However, he is also a controversial leader as illustrated in 2014 when he signed an anti-homosexuality law. This law resulted in a temporary donor aid freeze, while Uganda is heavily reliant on aid as it has very weak tax revenues and high public investment expenditures. Though Uganda enjoys a robust growth (5.2% in 2015 and 5.5% is expected in 2016), moderate levels of external and public debt (resp. 45 and 39% of GDP in 2015) and adequate reserves (covering 4 months of import cover), other major challenges remain for Museveni. The country is still plagued by persistent current account deficits (-9.7% of GDP in 2015 and -10.5% is expected in 2016), infrastructure weaknesses, high unemployment and governance issues. Analyst: Jolyn Debuysscher, email@example.com