Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Uganda's Museveni - A Problem for Kenya?

In a photo taken on May 12, 2011 Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (Front - C) with his wife, First Lady Janet Museveni (2L) stands with heads of state including (from-L front row) Zimbabwe President Robert MugabeKenya's President Mwai KibakiKenya's former president Daniel Moi, (from L middle row) Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck and South Sudan leader Salva Kiir among other dignitaries during his swearing in ceremony in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, was sworn in for a fourth term as president of Uganda
President Museveni of Uganda will be inaugurated tomorrow, Thursday, May 19, 2011. His swearing ceremony last Thursday, May 12th, was attended by heads of State from the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, DRC, Kenya, Southern Sudan and Tanzania as well as the leaders of Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Museveni will begin his fourth term as President of Uganda having already served for 25 years. Museveni has lost his charm with the Ugandans and now that the economy is on a nose dive with high fuel and food prices, his opposition opponent, Dr. Kizza Besigye, is gaining more popularity with every strike Museveni makes against him. 

Dr. Kizza Besigye
Dr. Besigye, who was undergoing treatment in neighboring Kenya after being attacked by special branch police during a demonstration, returned on Thursday in time to join protestors at the swearing in ceremony. He has also sworn to protest during the inauguration ceremony tomorrow as a rejection of Museveni's presidential win which he says was a sham steeped with rigging. Dr. Besigye addressed journalists in Kenya last week and called on the Kenyan government to promote democracy in Uganda. He warned that an unstable Uganda will unleash a refugee and economic burden if the country collapses and added that the interest of any government in Nairobi should promote justice and stability in Uganda. Clearly, Besigye's remarks were geared towards Kibaki's government whose loyalty is to Museveni. President Museveni was the first head of State to send a congratulatory message to President Kibaki during the contentious Kenyan elections of 2007. He overtly opposed Raila Odinga's claims of having defeated President Kibaki. It is a known fact that Museveni does not like or get along with Prime Minister Odinga and the latter is not hiding the fact that he supports Museveni's nemesis, Dr. Besigye. So Besigye's remarks can be taken as a warning of consequences to President Kibaki's support of Museveni.
President Museveni
In 1986, Museveni wrote a book called "What is wrong with Africa?". In it he said, "The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power." Ironically, Museveni is about to start another 5 year term, having already served for 25 years and is ruthlessly putting down any form of opposition. Although the government will not admit it, all is not well in Uganda right now. The hard economic times being experienced in the country have provided fertile ground for the opposition to hurt the government by calling for walk-to-work protests, a guileful way of getting around the ban on demonstrations. Museveni banned demonstrations recently after having seen enough evidence of their impact in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the Middle East.

Museveni's clamp-down on opposition politician Dr. Besigye has prompted more violent clashes. The tipping point was when Ugandans watched the evening news in horror at the sight of plainclothes police men smashing the politician's car windows and spraying him with chemical before dumping him on the back of a truck.

Museveni has forgotten what he wrote. He has become the problem for Uganda and if left unchecked may become a problem for the East African region. He has overstayed in power is now more of a liability than an asset to this small East African country.

East African Standard

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