Kampala, Uganda | AFP |
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda embarked on a fourth decade in power on Thursday when he was sworn into office for a fifth consecutive term.
Museveni won February’s election but the result was challenged by opposition leaders, one of whom has been held under house arrest for most of the weeks since.
“I, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni swear in the name of the Almighty God that I shall faithfully exercise the functions of the President of the Republic of Uganda,” Museveni said to cheers from the large bussed-in crowd gathered at a parade ground-cum-airstrip on a Kampala hillside.
He added he would “uphold, preserve, protect and defend the constitution, and observe the laws of Uganda, and I shall promote the welfare of the people of Uganda, so help me God,”
Wearing his trademark khaki bush hat with chin strap and a dark business suit, Museveni spoke into a clutch of microphones with canary yellow muffs the colour of his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
More than a dozen heads of state, including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, attended the swearing-in ceremony, the fifth since Museveni took power in 1986 at the head of a rebel army.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, but Uganda — like many other African states — ignored its legal obligation to arrest the Sudanese leader. Kenyatta’s own crimes against humanity case was dropped by the ICC in late 2014.
Leaders of Chad, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe were also present.
Museveni’s main political opponent, Kizza Besigye, was again arrested on Wednesday after holding his own swearing-in ceremony to protest what he says was a fraudulent election.
After his swearing-in Museveni stayed on the podium behind bulletproof glass and held up the various instruments of power including the presidential seal and a Uganda flag.
Then the military marching bands played, a 21-gun salute was fired, soldiers in dress uniforms trooped by and jets whizzed overhead as the crowd watched on.
Sudan’s Bashir heads to Uganda for rare visit
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir flew to Uganda Thursday, state media reported, in his first visit to Kampala since his indictment by the International Criminal Court in 2009 for alleged war crimes in war-torn Darfur.
The rare-two day visit to Uganda — a signatory of the Hague-based International Criminal Court — is aimed at boosting often-fraught ties.
What a shame? This shows that Mr museveni is isolated by the western world which has been his strong covert supporter. Only dictators have managed to attend the ceremony, people like mugabe,Bashir, Ali bongo well known violators of human rights and suppresers of freedom, the ceremony was exclusive to criminals rather than people of reputation. No western democracy present, what does that indicate? It can only indicate that dictatorship has no space in todays world and can not be entertained by reputable people, with excepton of futune seekers and opportunistic individuals, museveni is quickly killing off the east africa by iputing his dictatorial tedencies in new leaders such huhuru and ruto, magufuli pombe is the new victim in the queue, kagame was done long aga, kiir is just following the museveni winds, therefore this ceremony is irrelevant and luck substance and popular support from both the democratic communities and the local society with a few exceptions categorised by thieves that Rob the nation and scared of change. Ugandans should vehemently reject this position, we are not ready to smile @ dictators for return of favours.