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An oil curse has befallen several African countries, providing more incentive for corrupt leaders to remain in power in order to steal from public coffers.

One political scientist, Aron Okello, who recently taught at Kampala University, said Mr. Museveni is mishandling the protests.

“The government panicked, thinking the protests were meant to overthrow Museveni,” he said. “If they had taken it easy from the beginning, by now the protesters may have grown tired and stopped walking.”