Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Museveni, former critic of his attachment to power, wins sixth term | Uganda News

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Yoweri Museveni has already ruled Uganda for 35 years – and he’s now on five more.

The veteran leader was declared on Saturday, the winner of the Ugandan presidential election, consolidating his position among the world’s oldest leaders.

The results, which were rejected by the opposition, follow one of the bloodiest campaigns in years, with at least 54 people killed in November as security forces violently cracked down on opposition protests . Opposition figures have been repeatedly harassed and arrested, while members of the media have also been attacked.

Main opposition leader Bobi Wine called the electoral process a “sham,” but Museveni, in a televised address to the nation on Saturday, said Thursday’s polls could turn out to be “the most popular election. no more cheating “in Uganda since independence from Great Britain. in 1962.

Shortly after Museveni took power in 1986, ending years of bloodshed and chaos at the hands of leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote, the young president complained about leaders who had “overtaken” their welcome.

But nearly 35 years later, Museveni has joined the ranks of those he had once criticized, winning a sixth term.

Not bound by the Ugandan constitution – it has been amended twice to remove the presidential term and age limits – critics accuse the former rebel fighter, who never speaks publicly of succession and has broken his promises of resignation, becoming more and more autocratic and wanting to rule for life.

In long, winding speeches often intertwined with peasant folklore – he was raised by cattle herders in western Uganda – Museveni appealed for more time during the campaign, comparing himself to a farmer leaving a plantation in the when it was beginning to bear fruit.

Rarely also “the old man who saved the country” misses an opportunity to look back on his exploits in the bush wars – sometimes swapping his safari hat and yellow shirt for camouflage fatigues to bring out the point.

Speaking of his years in power, in an interview with Al Jazeera in 2017, Museveni said: “[During this time, we were able to] Starting from scratch, where we are now, we are able to do things on our own.

At 76 – although some opponents say he is older – Museveni says he fights in shape, sometimes performing push-ups in front of the crowd and jogging in his office.

Museveni studied political science and economics at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in the 1960s, when the institution acted as a kind of revolutionary finishing school for anti-colonialists.

When Amin took power in Uganda in 1971, Museveni returned to Tanzania in exile where he founded the Front for National Salvation, which helped to remove Amin in 1979.

In 1980, Museveni ran for President of Uganda. When the polls – widely believed to have been rigged – were won by Obote, Museveni led a bush revolt, which eventually prevailed in 1986.

He was elected president 10 years later and was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2006 after a constitutional amendment passed the previous year removed term limits established for the presidency. He was re-elected again in 2011 and 2016, although his victories were marred by allegations of irregularities.

During his 35-year rule, Museveni so effectively merged state and party and crushed political opposition, that any serious challenge to him or his national resistance movement was made impossible.

A cunning strategist, Museveni also positioned himself as an older statesman and peacemaker in a volatile region – even as his forces marauded eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and supported rebels in other corners torn by war.

His deployment of troops to fight in Somalia, and an open door policy to refugees, have won favor with foreign donors who critics say have turned a blind eye to his abuses at home and warmongering abroad.

Museveni refused these requests. This “[was the result of] fraternal solidarity … this is the tradition of African freedom fighters, I am one of the African freedom fighters, ”he told Al Jazeera in 2017.

“Because [of] our liberation struggles, because we fought two wars and defeated them on our own, we have a tradition of fighting, ”he added.

Asked about the possibility of being considered a dictator, following the disputed previous re-election in 2016, Museveni replied: ” [A] dictator elected five times; he must be a wonderful dictator.

“It must be special, elected five times, always with a large majority, it must be a wonderful dictator.”

Having been president longer than most Ugandans have been, Museveni will now continue his rule over a population where three-quarters are under 30 and have never known anyone else in charge.


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