Uganda: Democratic Party in Entebbe, including objectives, leadership, and membership procedures; treatment of members by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) (2015-February 2017) [UGA105760.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview

Information on the Democratic Party (DP) in Entebbe was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the Political Handbook of the World (PHW), the DP is an "opposition group" and "legislative party" in Uganda (PHW 2015, 1512). According to the same source, the party is an "advocate of centralization and a mixed economy," and "draws on a solid Roman Catholic base and enjoys widespread support in southern Uganda" (ibid.).

According to a February 2016 article by Daily Monitor, a daily Ugandan newspaper (Daily Monitor n.d.), "Entebbe has remained a DP stronghold for the last decade" (ibid. 9 Feb. 2016). A July 2015 article by Daily Monitor also states that "[j]udging from the 2011 polls, [the] Entebbe Municipality is seen as an [o]pposition stronghold having overwhelmingly voted [for] the [DP] candidates" (ibid. 16 July 2015). The same source further indicates that, at the time of publication in July 2015, "[t]he positions of area MP, mayor, both division chairpersons (A and B) and councillors at the municipality and district are held by members of the [o]pposition" (ibid.).

According to an August 2015 Daily Monitor article describing the 2011 Entebbe Municipality MP election,

the ruling National Resistance Movement suffered one of its biggest losses in the entire [2011] election, which saw more than 90 percent of the elective posts in Entebbe clinched by members of the [o]pposition Democratic Party. (ibid. 15 Aug. 2015)

In a February 2016 article, the Daily Monitor reports that in the two elections prior to the 2016 election, Muhammed Kawuma (DP candidate) won "on both occasions" (ibid. 9 Feb. 2016).

Sources indicate, however, that in the 2016 Entebbe MP elections, Rosemary Tumusiime of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) was elected to Parliament beating DP candidate Michael Kakembo; Tumusiime received 8,786 votes while Kakembo garnered 8,337 (ibid. 8 July 2016; Entebbe News 21 Feb. 2016).

The Daily Monitor reports that "DP candidate Vincent Kayanja [ran] against NRM's Joseph Ssesanga in the 2016 Entebbe Municipality mayoral race that was won by the former" (Daily Monitor 4 Mar. 2016). New Vision, a Ugandan news source which is owned by a multimedia business called New Vision Printing & Publishing Company Limited (Vision Group n.d.), similarly states that "DP's Vincent Kayanja won the [mayoral] elections" (New Vision 12 July 2016).

2. Leadership of the Democratic Party
2.1 Nationally

According to the PHW, the leadership of the DP consists of:

  • Norbert Mao (Party President and 2011 presidential candidate);
  • John Kawanga;
  • Issa Kikungwe;
  • Hajji Beswale Kezaala;
  • John Ssebaana Kizito (2006 presidential candidate);
  • Joseph Mukiibi;
  • Lulume Bayiga; and
  • Mathias Nsubuga (Secretary General) (2015, 1512).

According to New Vision, Kenneth Kakanda is the publicity secretary and Elvis Kintu Nsonyi is the DP coordinator (New Vision 12 July 2016).

Sources report that Muhammad Baswale Kezaala resigned as national chairman of DP (ibid. 1 Feb. 2016; The Ugandan 1 Feb. 2017) and that "Dr. Kiwanuka Mayambala has been appointed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of [DP] as the acting national chairman" of the DP (New Vision 1 Feb. 2017).

2.2 In the Entebbe Municipality

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the DP Youth Secretary, who is a lawyer by profession and provided information based on personal opinions and not those of the party, stated that Senoga Mivule is the Chairperson, Kayanja Vincent Depaul is the Vice-Chairperson, and Makumbi Francis is the Secretary General of the DP in Entebbe (DP Youth Secretary 2 Feb. 2017). According to New Vision, Leonard Senoga is the Entebbe municipality DP chairman (12 July 2016). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Information on membership procedures could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. Treatment of Members by the National Resistance Movement (NRM)

The DP Youth Secretary stated, based on personal opinions, that "[a]ny activities conducted by the DP in Entebbe are obstructed by NRM cadres with the support of security agencies including the army" (DP Youth Secretary 2 Feb. 2017). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to sources, NRM candidate for Member of Parliament Patience Mubangizi petitioned the High Court challenging the results of the 2011 Entebbe municipality elections (Uganda Radio Network 29 Sept. 2011; Daily Monitor 15 Aug. 2015), arguing that "the election didn't comply with the Constitution, [Electoral Commission Act], and the [Parliamentary Elections Act]" (ibid.). The Daily Monitor indicates that the High Court subsequently ruled that the election was "flouted" and ordered a "fresh election" (ibid.). According to the same source, "Kawuma's victory margin improved" in the "subsequent by-election" (ibid.).

A 2011 Daily Monitor article reporting on the Entebbe Municipality elections notes that "the Police ordered [DP] supporters to vacate the [St. Joseph Katabi Polling Station] to avoid disrupting election exercise" (ibid. 30 Sept. 2011).

According to New Vision, the DP "has accused the Special Forces Command (SFC) of being involved in partisan politics and persecuting some of its supporters in Entebbe during the 2016 general elections" (New Vision 12 July 2016). The same source quotes the DP's publicity secretary as stating that "the SFC were involved in the shooting of [DP supporters] during the Entebbe mayoral elections on March 2" (ibid.). The Daily Monitor similarly reports that "two Democratic Party supporters" were admitted to "Grade B Hospital" after being "shot at by SFC soldiers in Entebbe Municipality … as they protected a journalist who was being attacked by supporters of the ruling party at Katabi Polling Station" (4 Mar. 2016). New Vision quotes the SFC spokesman Major Chris Magezi as stating that "'[t]hese two victims were among a group of rowdy opposition youth that attacked a military jeep patrol with stones and broken bottles as part of the 'defiance campaign'. The soldiers returned fire in self-defense'" (12 July 2016). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Daily Monitor. 8 July 2016. Anthony Wesaka. "Court Upholds Election of Entebbe Municipality MP, Workers MP." [Accessed 3 Feb. 2017]

Daily Monitor. 4 March 2016. George Muzoora, Paul Adude and Andrew Bagala. "Army Crackdown Leaves 10 Injured." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Daily Monitor. 9 February 2016. Paul Adude. "DP Faces Uphill Task to Retain Entebbe MP Seat." [Accessed 30 Jan. 2017]

Daily Monitor. 15 August 2015. Stephen Kafeero. "Entebbe Municipality Up for Grabs as DP Fights Hurt Opposition." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Daily Monitor. 16 July 2015. Stephen Kafeero. "Besigye Supporters Blocked, Calls Museveni Unpopular." [Accessed 30 Jan. 2017]

Daily Monitor. 30 September 2011. Martin Ssebuyira. "DP’s Kawuma Declared Entebbe Municipality MP." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Daily Monitor. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

DP Youth Secretary. 2 February 2017. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Entebbe News. 21 February 2016. Isaac Ainebyona. "NRM’s Rose Tumusiime Roars Over Entebbe Municipality MP Seat." [Accessed 3 Feb. 2017]

New Vision. 1 February 2017. Vivian Agaba. "Mayambala Replaces Kezaala as DP National Chairman." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

New Vision. 12 July 2016. Sandra Ampiire. "SFC Involved in Partisan Politics, Says DP." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Political Handbook of the World 2015 (PHW). 2015. "Uganda." Edited by Tom Lansford. Washington, DC: CQ Press. [Accessed 23 Jan. 2017]

Uganda Radio Network. 29 September 2011. George Matovu. "Entebbe: DP's Mohamed Kawuma in Early Lead in MP By-Election." [Accessed 31 Jan. 2017]

The Ugandan. 1 February 2017. "'I Needed Museveni Job', Baswale Kezaala Steps Down as DP National Chairman." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Vision Group. N.d. "Vision Group." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Foundation for Human Rights Initiative; Human Rights Centre Uganda.

Internet sites, including: Africanews; The Africa Report; AllAfrica; Amnesty International; BBC;; Entebbe News; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; IRIN News; The New York Times; Uganda – Police Force, Uganda Human Rights Commission; United Nations – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Refworld; United States – Department of State; UPR Info.