A woman gets off a truck with pictures of National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate Yoweri Museveni in Masindi town January 23, 2016 ahead of the February 18 presidential election. REUTERS/James Akena
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At an election rally this month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni awarded city status to the town of Mbarara – a minor distinction on the face of it, but one that promises more public sector jobs for local voters.As top musicians played for thousands of dancing supporters, critics said it was another example of Museveni spending freely on government patronage in a campaign to extend his three decades in office while teachers go unpaid and clinics run out of drugs.Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye, a longtime opponent who has lost three previous elections, are Museveni's main election rivals.Mbabazi promises to cut the budget of the State House, or the presidential office, by 60 percent.In the budget for 2015/16, the year that covers the election, government spending rose by 71 percent, helping to push the Ugandan shilling to all-time lows.Each election season, Museveni creates new local government districts, each with upwards of 100 new jobs, says budget analyst Godber Tumushabe.Museveni himself has more than 100 presidential advisers, Tumushabe said, all with salaries, official cars and money for their running costs.
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