Public Policy Institute (PPI)

The Efficacy of the Affirmative Action Policy and Women’s Political Empowerment in Uganda

12 January 2023

Women’s presence in decision-making positions still falls short of national and international commitments, such as the gender balance envisaged by the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Madanda, 2017). A report on gender and women’s participation in the 2016 general elections in Uganda reveals that women’s participation in active politics is low despite affirmative action.

The report notes that even though women comprise 52% of the population of Uganda, their participation as candidates in the 2016 elections remained minimal, particularly those running for the Constituency MP seats. Out of the eight presidential candidates, only one was female, representing 12.5%, while out of the 1,306 candidates contesting the Constituency MP seats, only 83 (6.8%) were women, of whom 58% ran as independents. The situation at the level of LCV chairperson was worse, with only seven women (1.9%), as compared to 376 men (98.1%) (Women’s Democracy group 2016). This observation is independent of the Woman MP dynamic, because it is reserved for women only. It is important to note that the increase in the number of women across the political structures correlates with the increase in the number of districts.