Uganda: Opposition Muted As Museveni Embarks On New Term

Renowned opposition figures stayed mute while little was heard- from outspoken activists in the nation as Mr Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni took oath, extending his presidency to four decades on Wednesday.

Running on a victory he bagged through a contested January 14 election, the President on May 12 said "elections are over! Let us get down to work, so as to chase poverty from your homes."

"Engage in commercial agriculture, counting profitability, industries and services," he urged.

The runner-up, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine was unobtrusively out of sight and seemingly out of voice by closure of the ceremony at Kololo with his National Unity Platform (NUP) party members opting for Godly intervention.

"We had planned national prayers but security forces disrupted everything. Bobi Wine is okay. Mr Museveni is a coward," NUP spokesperson, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi told this reporter on Wednesday through a phone interview moments after Mr Museveni had taken oath.

Mr Museveni's fierce critic and four-time presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye who is currently out of the country last made a Tuesday condemnation of the inauguration from abroad saying "we keep pushing to subdue the gun rule to people rule."

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Activist Dr Stella Nyanzi carried frustration and voiced uproar on social media all day.

"Go ahead and shoot us dead like you have murdered myriads of poor Ugandans. Shoot us for another five years but we shall never embrace you," she said.

Mr Museveni's inauguration, perhaps the climax of Uganda's election season that claimed over 50 lives in just two days in November last year following the arrest of Bobi Wine in Luuka District, kept Kampala under escalated military surveillance and patrols.

Following remarks from his critics that seem to delegitimise his victory which followed a spate of arrests of opposition candidates and supporters, the 76-year-old veteran leader who assumed power through a guerrilla war in 1986 seems unbothered.

"It is quite laughable to try to give lectures on democracy to architects of such systems. We neither need nor seek any approbation from anybody outside Uganda except our peers from the African Union (AU)," Mr Museveni said to a cheering crowd of over 5,000 guests, including 11 African heads of state and 33 foreign dignitaries who graced the event at Kololo ceremonial grounds.

On the eve of the swearing ceremony, Bobi Wine claimed massive arrest of National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters but said they "shall overcome."

As Gen. Museveni prepares to illegally swear himself in tomorrow, abductions of Ugandans have intensified. Yesterday Gordon Ssebagala, our comrade was abducted by heavily armed operatives in plain clothes! His whereabouts are unknown. There must be accountability for these crimes pic.twitter.com/PcT4uGiqqK

- BOBI WINE (@HEBobiwine) May 11, 2021

Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, on May 10, echoed claims that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party nonconformists were planning a counter-swearing in event, a claim opposition members dismissed as schemes by the security forces to hoodwink Mr Museveni into giving them more money under the guise of intensifying security.

"We are serious people. We shall swear in from Kololo after we have deposed dictator Museveni. They (security forces) are just scheming ways of fleecing government revenue," Mr Ssenyonyi said.

Mr Ssenyonyi said the "plight of Ugandans will definitely worsen as Museveni invests in military-might to "illegally consolidate power while ruthlessly suppressing dissent."

President Museveni in his inauguration speech also blasted as idiotic- the push for African leaders to align with specific foreign powers.

"When I had just assumed power, some people would ask me; are you pro-east or pro-west? Idiots!!! I'm pro-Africa. How about being pro-myself!" Mr Museveni said, adding that Africa must find adhesive-gravity.

"Where is the economic and strategic centre of gravity of the African race? Everywhere, black people are suffering. It is partly on account of lacking this centre of gravity. Nobody cares about us," the newly sworn president remarked.

But as he embarks on the new term and continue making promises, Mr Museveni who has been in power for 35 years has several changes ahead of him, some of which include finding solutions to increasing corruption, land grabbing and youth unemployment, amongst others.

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