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How much longer for Museveni?

July 22, 2008

rtr1zhcn.jpgCovering Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for four years as the Reuters correspondent in Kampala was seldom dull.

When he was in a good mood, the former rebel would banter with journalists long after his aides wanted him to leave. In a bad mood, he would scowl and growl back answers in return.

He was often charismatic and regularly very funny.

At one meeting with then International Monetary Fund boss Rodrigo Rato in August 2004, he had participants in stitches as he described a panel of portly finance ministry officials as “not typical Ugandans”.

“These ones are eating for others,” Museveni joked as the civil servants squirmed.

The cattle herd boy turned guerrilla commander portrays himself as a tough but humble man with simple tastes.

Reporters in the scenic capital Kampala soon learned that one way to cheer him up was to ask about his extensive cattle herds, or better still, anything to do with the armed forces.

More than once, he called for a whiteboard and marker pens so he could explain Uganda’s military structure in detail to “criminally ignorant” journalists.

At the weekend, state media confirmed that the 64-year-old — who has already ruled the country for 22 years — would be running for re-election at polls in 2011.

The news cheered investors who like his record of steady economic growth and are hungry for opportunities in emerging markets.

But it will frustrate critics, including some Western donors, who have criticised his increasingly autocratic leadership style.

What do you think? Is economic stability or political change more important in a fast growing nation like Uganda? Has one of the biggest characters of African politics overstayed his welcome already?


The story of Yoweri Museveni is a sad one. Sad because to Museveni the European Governments, especially the British and the USA, have applied another standard to Yoweri Museveni from that which they are applying to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Yoweri Museveni’s story is also sad because it has gone a full circle and now resembles George O’Well’s Manor Farm story. When Museveni was fighting Mzee Milton Obote, the slogan was “Two legs bad, four legs good.” That was to say that “Mzee Milton Obote was not good for Uganda and that Yoweri Museveni was better.” Ugandans bought this slogan blindly as Napolion (Museveni) took advantage of them to drive Snowball out of the Manor Farm. 22 years later, the slogan changed back to “Four legs bad Two better.” Today Ugandans are crying with nostalgia about the hospitals and superior free post-primary and secondary education that Mzee Milton Obote built that even Museveni is a beneficiary of. Unfortunately for them, Mzee Milton Obote has departed. What hypocricy this world and what a quandary Ugandans find themselves in!

Posted by John O'Kello | Report as abusive

Uganda has done well under Museveni, that is great. But how long a leader should stay in power should never be decided on how well or badly the individual has performed whilst in office. That should be left to the people to decide through meaningful free and fair elections. And even then there should be constitutional provisions limiting the maximum number of terms/years one can hold a given position.

A nation’s outlook should not be limited to the present generation alone but look far beyond that. There is nothing to stop a future leader, who could well be a total failure succeeding as President. He/she too claim the same rights and privileges as Musevani and there will be no way of pushing him/her out of office.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Economic stability or political change? This is an interesting quandary for Africa. We look around and we see Libya, we see Mobutu’s Congo and today’s Congo, We see pre-90′s Zimbabwe and today’s Zimbabwe! We see pre-95 Uganda and today’s Uganda. From these observations, one can not help but ask oneself, Why is it that on average, we fair better under strong “autocracies”? Does the intricate combination of diversity, poverty and being captives of the technologically advancing world render us so self-serving that we can not rationally come together and decide to pursue strategies that yield better results for our countries in the long-run? If yes, then is this why we need a strong-armed fellow to lay the law down so that we can live in “peaceful” oppression? Is this perhaps the realization that Museveni has come to with the help of his mentor Gaddaffi?
When it comes to Uganda though, there is no guarantee that a change in leadership will not be tantamount to substituting Lucifer for Dracula. Until the people realize that we have to act collectively in pushing leadership in a direction that is for the greater collective long-term good, the snakes that lead us will remain snakes, be they vipers or pythons!! But uniting a people long divided by political strife for political ends is no cake-walk! Especially since they realize that they can achieve their short-term goals by simply dancing to the snakes tune!

Posted by Dennis Kasolo | Report as abusive

I think the story of yoweri kaguta museveni is not sad at the mean time, because museveni did good job for his long term, so if we are the ugandan population we can make political change in a better way. we dont want to support like kind of kizza politician, so far i dont think that we have a politician better than museveni,so we had better to shut up our mouth, instead we are saying unlikeable words to our unfoggetable president.


Re: Ugandan leader to extend rule with little challenge


You are very mis-informed. It is becoming abundantly clear (to Ugandans) that Museveni is no different from Amin and Obote. Millions of Ugandans are working to ensure he does not continue beyond 2011. Where are you getting your information ?

Posted by Henry | Report as abusive

How much longer??? Let works determine. For even in the olden days of

our fore fathers, great leaders ruled long and had favour of the

Almighty. We can not say for sure that there are unsound achievements

in the Museveni Regieme. There has been a steady economic grownt and

that us a major achievement as far as human lifestyle is concerned

since it directly affects other aspects of life like healthcare,

shelter and education. We can look forward to Positive further

development especially economically and we should never forget the

spirirt of nationalism in supporting our leader to lead the country to

prosperity. I hail great nationalists like those at and


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