Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni takes oath for another term

Uganda's long-time president Yoweri Museveni, 71, center, signs an oath as his wife Janet Museveni, left, looks on during an inauguration ceremony in the capital Kampala, Thursday, May 12, 2016. Museveni was sworn in Thursday for a fifth term taking him into his fourth decade in power, amid arrests of opposition politicians and a shutdown of social media. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been sworn in for another five year term of office drawing mixed reactions.

At the colorful swearing in ceremony held in the capital Kampala, 14 African leaders were in attendance, a move that can be interpreted as an endorsement.

Leaders from South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mali, Niger, Chad and Equatorial Guinea graced the occasion that was also attended by key government representatives from China, Russia and other countries.

Before giving his inauguration speech, Museveni invited the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), also Chadian President Idriss Deby to greet the crowd as a show of solidarity.

Deby described Museveni as a critical factor in Africa in fighting off imperialism. He said Museveni is a true freedom fighter who has Africa’s interests at heart.

Zambian leader Edgar Lungu, who was also in the country to attend the function, urged Uganda’s opposition to concede defeat and recognize Museveni as the duly elected president.

“Let the opposition parties accept the will of the people and accept the win of president Museveni because he went through elections and won,” Lungu was quoted as saying by the local Daily Monitor.

Museveni in his speech hailed China and Russia for their policy of none-interference in internal matters of other states.

Museveni without giving reference said states must not dictate what other states must do in governing their own countries.

“We refused arrogance. Everybody should govern their own house. We are a sovereign nation,” he said.

Museveni of late has been on a collision course with the U.S. and European Union envoys in the country.

The western powers have urged the government not to infringe on the rights of the opposition to assemble.

They have also been critical of the government’s shut down of social media which in their view is an infringement on the freedom of expression.

Police have defended their actions saying previous experiences have showed that letting the opposition free would cause chaos in the city.

Days leading to and after the Feb. 18 presidential polls, there has been increased deployment of soldiers and police in Kampala and other major towns across the country.

According to the military and police, this is aimed at countering the opposition which has had several protests.

On election day, Besigye who was the first runner up in the election was arrested and incarcerated at his residence for over a month.

Police reasoned that Besigye had vowed to cause chaos in the city.

After his release, Besigye and his supporters continued with protests calling for an international audit into the election results.

Besigye and a group of opposition leaders have been in and out of police cells as police disperse the protests.

Amama Mbabazi, the second runner up in the election petitioned the country’s Supreme Court alleging that there were election malpractices that influenced the final result in favor of Museveni.

The Court dismissed the petition arguing that although there were anomalies in the election process, they were not substantial enough to affect the final result.

During the last 30 years of Museveni’s rule, he has not succeeded in fighting corruption.

Museveni in his speech acknowledged that corruption was a cancer that he needs to fight during his new term of office.

“We must expunge two weaknesses, corruption by public officials and delay of decision-making.

“These two mistakes irritate the public and frustrate the investors.

“It is betraying the country,” Museveni said.

Museveni said in the next term he will not rely on accounting officers but instead directly discipline public servants found guilty of engaging in corrupt tendencies.

During these five years, Museveni said he will continue with developing the country’s transport and energy infrastructure.

He argued that once these issues are addressed, the country will catapult into a middle income country.

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