Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni said his critics “have no mission but just just want power” a circumstance that has kept him in power for more than 36 years and still counting.
Museveni who has been in power since 1986 made the remarks during an interview with Voice of America (VOA) while responding to his critics who are calling for his retirement on account of having had the opportunity to exhaust all his ideas on developing Uganda over the years, and that it should be time for him to handover the leadership to the next president.
“I thought they were democrats because that is the decision of the electorate. First of all, the problem we have is that all these (opposition) have no mission. They just want power” President Museveni said.
“For us, it is not the question of who is to be in power. Our understanding is the ‘what is to be done’ If I have done something on patriotism, that’s why we have got some good results. That is why Uganda is not a failed state: We don’t have the UN or France to guard and defend us as if there are no people her” Museveni said.
In January 2021, President Museveni won a disputed presidential election which is highly believed to be the most violent during his 36 year rule. His closest rival Robert Kyagulanyi and his supporters claimed the state machinery especially police and the army worked in favor of Museveni beating up their supporters and stopping their rallies.
During the interview, Museveni attributed this to the COVID-19 pandemic and the failure by the opposition to adhere to the laws relating to prevention of the coronavirus spread.
“It was corona. Actually the opposition caused the second wave of coronavirus in Uganda and that wave should be called opposition corona” He stated.
Museveni however conceded on persistent cases of torture by security agents a circumstance he attributes to both challenges in capacity building and lack of sensitization in the forces to appreciate Human Rights protection during the execution of their mandate.
“Its true that some of the people were tortured.. I have confirmed some other cases and I took it up because; you see part of the problem of Africa is capacity building. We are building armies and security forces. Sometimes, they come with traditional ideas imported from the village or they get imported ideas from the former colonialists like for instance the police force which was there during the colonial times” President Museveni added.
During the election period, opposition leaders and supporters were arrested while the leading opposition National Unity Platform claim that their colleagues remain unaccounted for until today. Some of the victims bear visible torture marks on their bodies.
Museveni said the laws on torture are now in place but what is required is sensitization of the forces to appreciate that torture is not necessary.