Uganda is a unitary republic with an executive president elected every five years by universal adult suffrage, and a unicameral parliament with 375 elected members. Most of these members (238) are directly elected every five years by universal adult suffrage. The remainder are elected from special interest groups by electoral colleges: women, the defence forces, youth, disabled people and workers. Since 2005 there has been no limit on the number of terms a president may serve.

The president appoints and leads the cabinet. The prime minister, appointed by the president, assists the president in the supervision of the cabinet.

The constitution of 1995 provided that until 2000 elections were to be held under the ‘movement system’, whereby candidates stand as individuals to be elected on personal merit, rather than as members of a political party. The ‘movement system’ ended in 2005 when the people voted in a constitutional referendum in favour of introduction of a multiparty political system.

The constitution provides for independence of the judiciary. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal and the constitutional court. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court. The High Court has unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases.

The magistrates’ courts have limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases. Appeals arising from the magistrates’ courts are heard by the High Court.