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After 29 Years in Power, Ugandan President Museveni Won't Leave Office

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni. Photo released under Creative Commons by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development UK).

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni. Photo released under Creative Commons by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development UK).

Seventy percent of Ugandans are under the age of 29. That means they have seen only one president since they were born. On 26 January, 2015, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) celebrated 29 years in power. This day was set apart as the liberation day to mark the day NRM took over power after a five-year armed struggle against repressive governments.

President Museveni is already seeking a sixth presidential term. Billboards erected by his party supporting his intention to continue ruling the country are all over the capital city Kampala. To gather public support for his intention to run again, Museveni has been seen handing out brown envelopes of money to poor people during public gatherings, something he has also done in the past. He has come under public criticism for treating the national treasury as his Automatic Teller Machine (ATM).

For many Ugandans, the celebration of the liberation day was a moment to take stock of the governance of the NRM and the promises the the NRM made when they came into power.

George Ayittey, a Ghanaian economics professor and president of Free Africa Foundation in Washington, DC, reminded the rest of the world what Museveni said when he became president of Uganda in 1986:

Ugandan journalist Benjamin Rukwenge is tired of Twitter users complaining instead of doing something about the situation:

While Edgar Mwine, an unemployed graduate of economics, quoted lawyer, policy analyst and social entrepreneur Godber Tumushabe:

Museveni said in a speech that he said he will never give power to the opposition, whom he called wolves, because he has the support of the army. Commenting on an article about the speech on the Daily Monitor website, “Kabindist” wrote:

So its official.There is no democracy in Uganda.Its about Museveni and his Army.So,all these years when he said he needed more time to professionalize the Army,he meant brain wash it to do his bidding.Term limits,age limits and all the above are but play things for Kaguta.He believes his day will not come.With his NRM wolves the country is already torn apart and like a greedy wolf he wont let go.Who is he lying to?

Commenting on the same story, Bishanga Paul warned Museveni:

Gadafi had a strong Army and was csupported by the people who later got disgusted and dragged him through the city to see him off the country of Libya forever.

And to drive the point home, the Daily Monitor illustrated:

In his criticism of Museveni, Charles Onyango Obbo, Mail & Guardian Africa editor, compared Museveni to Lords Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony:

To begin with, Kony and Museveni are the longest serving post-1986 leaders of their respective organisations. Counting from when he came to power, Museveni has been leader of NRM, president and commander-in-chief for 29 years. Kony effectively became leader of the LRA in 1988, after cobbling it together from the remnants and other dregs of Alice Lakwena’s defeated Holy Spirit Movement.
Kony has, therefore, led LRA for 26 years, the only rebel leader of the Museveni era who comes close to The Chief. When it comes to military and political survival, therefore, Museveni and Kony are in a class of their own. I think Museveni will outlast Kony, but strange things happen in our neck of the woods so I wouldn’t place a bet on it.

In December last year, the Daily Monitor quoted Museveni saying that Ugandans do not want him to leave. He blamed his clinging to power to Ugandans who keeps re-electing him.

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