Most Ugandans feel free to speak, assemble, and vote – but are careful when they talk about politics

Free speech

Most Ugandans report feeling free to say what they think, join political organizations, and vote as they wish, but a majority also say they have to be careful about what they say about politics, Afrobarometer survey findings show.

The perception that people have to be cautious about political speech has seen an upward trend over the past two decades, with spikes during election years.

This trend does not appear to erode the large majorities who say they feel free to say what they think, to join any political organization, and to vote for the candidate of their choice without feeling pressured. But caution about political speech is increasing alongside fear of falling victim to political intimidation and violence during elections.

These survey findings highlight concerns voiced by some civil society organizations that Uganda’s electoral environment is growing more violent and less protective of political freedoms.