KAMPALA –President Yoweri Museveni was on Wednesday sworn-in to start his sixth, five-year term of office as security agencies’ presence at the homes of opposition figures –Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine and Rt Col. Dr Kizza Besigye, continue.
Bobi Wine – Mr Museveni main challenger during the January 14 General Election, declined to recognize the poll outcome, describing the exercise as mockery.
Museveni, who won the January exercise amidst claims of irregularities, took the oath of office at a function presided over by the Uganda’s Chief Justice – Alfonse Owiny-Dollo at the Kololo Independence Grounds. Several African heads of state and other foreign dignitaries – but not Paul Hagame of Rwanda – were in attendance.
The 76-year-old, wearing a dark blue suit and his trademark wide-brimmed hat, promised to ‘pay true allegiance’ to the country he has ruled continuously since taking power as a rebel leader in 1986.
His victory in January was overshadowed by the bloodiest pre-election crackdown in years, with opposition candidates forcibly prevented from campaigning and dozens of protesters killed by security forces.
Bobi Wine, who came second to Museveni in the ballot but declared the vote as rigged, said police and soldiers had ‘besieged’ his home in Magere on the outskirts of the capital – Kampala – preventing him from leaving. A similar situation was formed at Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform – NUP offices in Kamwokya – where the police in company of the military surrounded nearby buildings, denying anyone access.
“We had planned to converge at our offices in Kamwokya for prayers, in addition to fasting; but the regime could not allow us access the building – which is a sign of cowardliness on the side of the regime,” Joel Ssenyonyo – the NUP spokesman told reporters in Kampala.
“Dictator Museveni is swearing in, well aware he stole the elections and disenfranchised Ugandans and he is scared of people opposing the sham ceremony,” Bobi Wine – the 39-year-old singer-turned-politician was quoted as telling foreign news agencies.
“Even if he has sworn in, we will continue the struggle to dislodge him from power through peaceful means and this will come soon,” he pledged.
Kizza Besigye, an opposition veteran who lost against Museveni in four disputed and often violent presidential elections, was also placed under an effective house arrest.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga described the measures as ‘normal precautions taken to protect Bobi Wine and Besigye.
“There was intelligence reports that some people wanted to cause disruptions during the swearing-in ceremony and we took precaution to provide security for some leaders, including the opposition leaders – Bobi Wine and Besigye,” he said, adding: “This is normal security deployment for VIPs.”
According to Enanga, Bobi Wine was planning to hold a parallel swearing-in ceremony – which would be ‘illegal and treasonous and police will not allow him to do so.’
Bobi Wine challenged the election result in court but later withdrew his petition, saying the judiciary was stacked in favour of Mr Museveni.
In March, he had urged Ugandans to ‘rise up peacefully and unarmed’ in protest against President’s Museveni’s continued rule. Since the election, the opposition has alleged that security forces have been abducting their supporters.
In his inauguration speech, President Museveni highlighted a number of issues to counter several challenges facing Uganda, and Africa at large. He took a swipe at the ‘whites’ for their calculated motive to cause havoc onto the black race.
“The people of Uganda and myself, welcome you to Uganda. I thank you for coming to show solidarity with us on this joyful occasion.
“By 1900, the whole of Africa had been colonized, except for Ethiopia. This was a big shame to Africa and it was all due to the political fragmentation of Africa into small kingdoms and chiefdoms. Some of the traditional leaders, tried to fight to preserve their independence. They were, however, not co-ordinated and they were defeated one by one. Taking Uganda as an example, our society was, that time, a pre-capitalist, mainly non-money one, using barter trade (kuchurika) and comprised of 3 social classes: the feudalists; the artisans (black-smiths, carpenters, potters, etc.); and the peasants (agriculturalists, pastoralists and fishermen)…….full speech, herePresident Museveni’s 2021 Swearing in speech.