Political instability in Africa can be triggered by a variety of factors. One of such factors is represented, sadly, by the elections. As we noted in several posts last year, elections may have a destabilizing efffect in poorly institutonalized settings so that instead of replacing ‘bullets with ballots’, some of the countries end up experiencing ‘bullets after ballots’.

The case of Burundi last year was emblematic in this respect.

Now it is time for Uganda to go to the polls, in a very tense political climate, in which government forces and opposition leaders are actively trying to delegitimize one another. The government claims that the opposition is organizing militia gangs. Meanwhile it has created a voluntary police, called crime preventers, which is allegedly engaged in scare tactics and brutality to induce voters to support the government by violent means.

After a campaign characterized by tension, delegitimization, and violence, it is unlikely that the winner off the next elections will enjoy much legitimacy and the country may go on to experience the kind of instability that Burundi has been experiencing in the wake of its latest prsidential elections.