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Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled in Uganda for 2011. For those living in the north, these elections will be the first to take place in a time of peace for over 20 years and will be essential for increasing the legitimacy of the state in the eyes of these communities. However, a divide between north and south Uganda endures. Many respondents believe that northern and eastern Uganda have been marginalized under Museveni’s rule. In this context, almost all respondents (93%) said they planned to vote in the upcoming elections because it was their duty (28%), a new president needed to be elected (24%), or they wanted to exercise their rights (18%). The few that did not plan to vote (7%) mainly said they believed it was useless (59%).

Figure 21: Elections

Figure 21 - Elections

Those figures are encouraging and suggest that the population will eagerly participate in the presidential elections. Results from a series of questions about the 2006 presidential election show that participation at that time was also high. Three out of four respondents indicated they had registered (77%) and voted (72%). The main reasons for not registering were that the respondents: 1) were too young at the time (39%); 2) did not know how to register (14%); 3) were away from home or sick (13%); or 4) did not want to register (12%). However, one third of the respondents (32%) did not find the elections to be free and fair. The results suggest that lack of confidence in the electoral process is not a major constraint to voting. Nevertheless, for the upcoming elections, as many as 96 percent of respondents believed their vote would matter, mainly because, in their words, “every vote counts” (45%).