January 26, 2016 marks 30 years since President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement took over the rule of Uganda, after a 5-year guerrilla war that toppled then-president Milton Obote. Obote had been ousted from power by Idi Amin (1971–79), but regained power after Amin himself was overthrown.
In the year that Museveni came to govern the country, more than 75% of the present-day population of Uganda was not yet born — but those who were are using the hashtag #1986pictures to share their memories of that time.
But why now? President Museveni is currently seeking a sixth term in the office. Presidential elections will take place on February 18, 2016 and while the incumbent will most likely claim victory at the polls, there seems to be a great level of disillusionment with the electoral process.
There has already been a great deal of controversy — the country's economic health is a bit precarious, there are reports that Museveni has spent in excess of $7M on his re-election campaign over the period of just two months, and one of the president's political challengers, Amama Mbabazi, has accused him of launching an “offensive” to “intimidate and subdue” opponents’ supporters.
Netizens — who may or may not be going to the polls on election day — decided to make their voices heard online:
— Thomas Ddumba (@tomddumba) January 16, 2016
— Baksi (@juanbaksi) January 19, 2016
This Is Uganda remembered how Museveni was welcomed into office by the West:
— This Is Uganda (@ThisIsUganda_) January 21, 2016
Others recalled how their families were forced to flee to the West:
— Kasabiiti (@Kasabiiti) January 17, 2016
#1986pictures family photo album lost in exilé
— emmanuel othini (@EOthini) January 17, 2016
There were several comparisons of “then” and “now”:
— mirugwe alex junior (@mirugwealex1) January 19, 2016
— Kityo Kenny Rand (@kkennyrand) January 18, 2016
Kalundi Serumaga remembered his time in the Uganda National Liberation Front:
— Kalundi Serumaga (@NativeLandgrab) January 17, 2016
Twitter user Charles Onyango-Obbo posted photos of the deterioration of Lake Victoria and made a political parallel:
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) January 19, 2016
Many Twitter users thought that 30 years was quite a sufficient run:
— Ronald Sebuhinja K (@sebsronnie) January 17, 2016
— Thomas Ddumba (@tomddumba) January 18, 2016
— Aguma Awoii (@AwoiiKen) January 20, 2016
One tweet, however, poignantly demonstrated the level of frustration that many younger Ugandans may be feeling:
In 1986 My Mum n Dad had not yet met n so i wasn't in any process but i feel more tired than those who existed #1986Pictures i feel 4 u 😓😫😭😥
— Shannah Namaganda Am (@shannah2012) January 20, 2016