Museveni’s silence on his competitors bad for democracy – Mak Don

Museveni’s silence on his competitors bad for democracy – Mak Don
Uganda's Yoweri Museveni was sworn in Wednesday for his sixth term as president, as police surrounded the home of his main opposition rival who decried the inauguration as a "sham".

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Some political experts have said that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s silence on the rivals he competed with in the recent elections is bad for democracy and does not show any signs of reconciliation.

President Museveni spoke tough in his inauguration speech at Kololo Independent Grounds on May 12th, 2021 referring to terrorists as idiots, and also told off western actors that they cannot lecture him on democracy. Eleven heads of state attended the inauguration ceremony.

However, the President did not mention anything about his rivals in the 2021 elections. President Museveni competed with 10 other candidates with the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine coming second.

The others in the race were Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Mugisha Muntu, Democratic Party (DP), Norbert Mao, and independent candidates; Willy Mayambala, Nancy Kalembe, Henry Tumukunde, John Katumba, Joseph Kabuleta and Fred Mwesigye.

In his previous inauguration speech, the President talked about his rivals, however, he mentioned nothing about the opposition or his rivals in the presidential race this time round.

In 2011, the President extended an olive branch to his rivals in the presidential race adding that they are always welcome for talks.

In 2016, President Museveni congratulated the different politicians and political parties for participating in the elections, saying Uganda belongs to everybody. However this time, the President didn’t talk about his opponents, something some experts say does not show reconciliation.

According to Makerere University History Don, Associate Prof. Ndebesa Mwambutsya, the President should have congratulated his opponents for contesting with him, and acknowledge this, but silence and not mentioning them at all sends a bad image as it does not show reconciliation. He says this would mean the President doesn’t regard them and this doesn’t augur well for civil politics.

In 2016 during Museveni’s inauguration, Ambassadors including the one from the United States and the European Union walked out after Museveni attacked the International Criminal Court (ICC). Uganda hosted now ousted Sudan president Omar al-Bashir who was wanted by the ICC.

Prof. Ndebesa also decried the fact that Ambassadors were made to sit in ordinary chairs and not as protocol and decorum requires.

He however says that Museveni’s speech also brought in an element of the rivalry of the East and the West, but also countries of Russia and China emerging as winners.

Yasin Ssekamate, a political analyst says that the Ambassadors perhaps decided to be diplomatic despite Museveni’s attack on the western actors, saying that as long as their interest is met by the President, the west will remain silent on these statements.

President Museveni is now serving his sixth term since he came into power in 1986.