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The Justice Forum, commonly known as Jeema, is one of Uganda’s leading opposition parties, with representation in Parliament. Its "Jeema" acronym stands for: Justice, Education, Economic Revitalization, Morality and African Unity.
Though political parties were banned in the country until 2005, Jeema managed to emerge in 1996 and fronted a presidential candidate in the same year and in 2001. Kibirige Mayanja who represented Jeema in both elections, led the party until 2010 when he handed over to Asuman Basalirwa, 33, the youngest party president in Uganda’s history.
Jeema hit the road with huge support among the country’s Muslim population, posing a mighty threat to President Museveni’s ambition to rule for life. To contain its advance, Museveni’s government detained without trial, tortured and summarily killed countless Muslims, many of whom were Jeema mobilisers, for alleged or even fabricated links to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group that was active in the late 1990s. The forgotten terror – as the government-orchestrated atrocities on Muslims came to be known – greatly terrified Jeema members, leaving the party to go into recession.
Recently, however, Jeema started experiencing a trend of revival, establishing a functioning Secretariat and intensifying nationwide mobilization. Under the Inter-party Cooperation, a loose alliance of leading opposition parties to which Jeema belongs, the party hopes to move from one to at least 10 parliamentary seats in the 2011 general election.