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Uganda: The National Democrats Forum (NDF) including leader, date of formation, policies, process for members to join, and identity cards

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 9 February 2001
Citation / Document Symbol UGA36235.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: The National Democrats Forum (NDF) including leader, date of formation, policies, process for members to join, and identity cards, 9 February 2001, UGA36235.E, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The National Democrats Forum (NDF) is led by presidential aspirant Chapaa Karuhanga, a 48 year old man from Bushenyi district in western Uganda (The East African 10 July 2000; Uganda Website n.d.; New Vision, 19 Dec. 2000; ibid., 17 Jan. 2001)

According to Human Rights Watch, the leader of the NDF and some activists have been subjected to harassment and ill-treatment (Oct. 1999, 80-84).

Karuhanga Chapaa, the chairman of the National Democrats Forum, was arrested at his officie in Kampala on December 17, 1998, by four plainclothes police officers, and taken to Kampala police station for questioning. After being kept overnight in detention, Chapaa was charged with sedition in relation to comments he reportedly made at a December 13, 1998, political rally at Nateete sponsored by member of parliament Ken Lukyamuzi ... Chapaa was released on bail of 500,000 shillings (approximately U.S. $500), two sureties of 10 million shillings each (approx. U.S. $10,000 each) and was required to surrender his passport ... Chapaa was convicted of sedition on 28 June 1999, and ordered to pay a 50,000 (approximately U.S. $50 fine).

He also received a letter on 26 December 1998 from the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for Bushenyi District advising him to desist from engaging in

"illegal political activities" including distribution of identity cards (ibid., 80). Plain clothes policemen arrested and questioned a NDF activist and a soldier in the Ugandan army who had joined the NDF. They are released after questioning and after making statements to the police (ibid., 85-86).

Although political parties exist in Uganda, they are neither allowed to hold delegates' conferences nor to hold rallies (The East African 10 July 2000). On 6 February 2001 Parliament passed the Political Organisations Bill 1998, which prohibited political parties from opening branches below the district level (New Vision 7 Feb. 2001).

Chapaa Karuhanga is one of the seven contestants for the presidential election to be held on 7 March 2000 (The Monitor 29 Jan. 2001, New Vision, 8 Feb. 2001). According to the 29 January 2001 Monitor report, "five members of presidential candidate Chapaa Karuhanga's campaign team were yesterday mid-morning, attacked by armed men at Zigote, along the Kampala-Mubende highway." Additional and corroborating information on the NDF can be found in Country Reports on Human Rights 1998 and 1999 sections two and three respectively.

Information on when the party was formed, the procedure for becoming a member of the NDF, and the descriptions of identity cards could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The East African [Nairobi]. 10 July 2000. "Will Churches Resolve Uganda's Stalemate?" [Accessed: 7 Feb. 2000)

Human Rights Watch. October 1999. Hostile to Democracy: The Movement System and Political Freedom in Uganda. (New York: Human Rights Watch).

The Monitor. 29 January 2001. Evelyn Kiapi. "Gunmen Attack Chapaa's Team." [Accessed: 8 Feb. 2001]

New Vision [Kampala]. 8 February 2001. "Election Set for March 7th." [Accessed: 8 Feb. 2000]

_____. 17 January 2001. Ahmed agulibo. "Uganda: Reject Movement, Chapaa Urges Arua." (Africa News/NEXIS).

Uganda Website. n.d. "National Democratic Forum." [Accessed: 7 Feb. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin.

Amnesty International Report 1999.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999. 2000.

Keesing's Record of World Events.


Resource Centre. Country File. Uganda.

Search engines including:




Internet sites including:

All Africa

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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