KAMPALA, May 5 – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has lost popularity in recent years, with less than 50 percent of respondents in a rare opinion poll released on Monday saying they would vote for him.
Forty-one percent of those polled would choose him, 21 percent opposition leader Kizza Besigye and the rest other candidates if elections were held tomorrow, said the poll by Wilksen Agencies done on behalf of Afro-Barometer, a democracy promotion group.
"Trust in both the ruling party and the president has gone down tremendously since the last poll was taken three years ago," said Robert Sentamu, Wilkens Agencies director.
The poll, which surveyed 2,434 people, was conducted between July and October 2008 and had a two percent margin of error.
Asked how much they trusted the president, 30 percent said "somewhat trust" and 26 percent said "a lot" compared to 78 percent in 2006 who said they trusted Museveni either somewhat or a lot.
Museveni took power in 1986 following a six-year armed struggle and has not ruled out running for another term in elections scheduled for February 2011.
Uganda’s constitution does not place limits on presidential terms.
He has won Uganda’s three previous elections although his margin of victory has declined with each vote. He won 75 percent of the vote in 1996, 69 percent in 2001 and 59 percent in 2006.
Also in the polls, 31 percent described their living conditions as "fairly bad," 21 percent "very bad," and 29 percent said they expected those conditions to get worse over the next 12 months.