By Wangui Njau
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, was on Wednesday sworn into office as Uganda’s President for a sixth term, after winning the January 14 general elections.
The ceremony was held at the Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, and in attendance were African presidents including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu.
President Kenyatta, who currently chairs the East African Community (EAC), was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development).
Yoweri Museveni is Uganda’s longest serving president, as well as the fourth longest serving president in Africa. As he took the oath of office, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) leader insisted that the economy has grown in the last 35 years, hinting at its growth in the coming years.
“The economy will be growing at the rate of between nine and ten percent in the initial years of oil production… We can achieve much higher, much faster rate of growth and I will see to that,” said Museveni.
Security was ramped up around the capital ahead of the inauguration. This also included tight security around the home of opposition leader Robert Kyangulanyi alias Bobi Wine, who accused the government of malpractice in the election.
The campaign period was also marred by a deadly crackdown by security forces on Wine, other opposition candidates and their supporters.
In the run-up to the vote, local civil society groups and foreign governments questioned its credibility and transparency, after scores of requests for accreditation to monitor the election were denied.
Museveni and his NRM Party won the January 14 polls with 5.85 million votes (58.64%), while main opposition candidate Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform garnered 3.48 million votes (34.83%).
The 76 year old became president when his forces seized the capital Kampala after a five-year guerrilla struggle and has won five elections since 1996. Parliament has twice changed the constitution to allow him to run, first removing a two-term limit in 2005 and then abolishing the age limit of 75 in 2017.