Uganda: What Awaits Yoweri Museveni in Sixth Term – AllAfrica – Top Africa News

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has taken oath of office for his sixth elected term, with Ugandans and East Africans expecting him to steady the political and development caravan.
Mr Museveni’s victory in January saw him collect 58.6 percent of the vote against his challenger’s, Bobi Wine, 34.8 percent.
The vote, however, was preceded with internet shutdowns and violent arrests of the strongman’s opponents. Some of them are still in detention.
On Wednesday, the Ugandan leader used his inauguration podium to promise more commitment to regional integration, which he argued could be a solution to fragmented poverty on the continent.
“I would, therefore, like to use this occasion to remind the African fraternity, that economic and, where possible, political integration in Africa, is a sine qua non [essential condition] of the success for Africa, if we are to address the issue of the prosperity of our people and strategic security of Africa, apart from other consideration,” he told an audience at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“I am glad we are working on the CFTA [continental free trade area] for the common market of the whole of Africa and on the confederation of East Africa as a first step to the East African Political Federation.
“In East Africa, we should not repeat the mistake of 1963, when some actors made us miss our objective of the Political Federation,” he added, referring to the original failed bid to unite Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania under one political federation.
As a champion of East African Community, Mr Museveni may remember how Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda in the 70s to assist his struggle against dictator Idd Amin.
On Wednesday, he argued Africa should build a “centre of gravity” comparable to an axis where the continent can use to develop as one.
Regional integration observers say his longevity in power [since 1986] could provide a much-needed institutional memory to correct mistakes in the path for full integration.
“He is the senior-most leader. He should try to unite the EAC states like Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Somalia (which isn’t a member of EAC, but borders Kenya),” George Mucee, an immigration consultant and Practice Leader at Fragomen Kenya, told the Nation.
He was referring to constant trade and politics tiffs between the sides.
“He must look at how one EAC market can leverage its economic power to exploit natural resources and improve on standards of living not only to Ugandans but the rest of EAC.”
Mr Museveni’s proposal was that continental integration will boost markets for local produce but he did admit that project must involve addressing obstacles he called “parasites” such as the corrupt.
At home, however, he must address crucial issues. For example, his Cabinet from 2016 was one of the most bloated on the continent, carrying as many as 80 ministers and state ministers, which some observers think created a huge wage bill.
He will surely appoint a new vice president after the previous office holder Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi was defeated in January polls.
The country has had 146 districts, up from 30 when Mr Museveni took power in 1986, contributing to the expansion of Parliament to 529 MPs.
In the current fiscal budget, at least a third of the money will be channelled to paying debt, now at Ush65 trillion.
One controversial proposal Mr Museveni made was merging state departments that do similar jobs such as in electricity supply.
It could eat political jobs, however. A leaked tape on Thursday showed a state minister lamenting that no one in Cabinet was sure of retaining their posts.
In Parliament, outgoing Speaker Rebecca Kadaga is battling with her deputy Jacob Oulanya, providing the earliest test to unity in the National Resistance Movement.
In the wider political scene, stakeholders have called for President Museveni to ease electioneering tensions by first releasing those detained during campaign run-ins.
“Let them be released, let them enjoy their freedom with families. Some of them are Muslims and would love to celebrate Eid with their families,” the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, told reporters after Thursday’s Eid prayers in Kampala.
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Mr Museveni told an audience on Wednesday that NRM has managed to steer Uganda to progress by following for principles of patriotism, expanding markets, focusing on commercial agriculture and designing a local version of democracy.
But even that has had gaps.
Uganda has had 96,860 elective positions but Parliament routinely creates affirmative positions to balance gender and interest groups.
Only 19 women were elected through ordinary constituencies in 2016. Just 14 won this time round.
To fill the gap, Ugandans elected one women in every district, one youth per region and five special seats for the army. In recent changes, there will be five more seats for the elderly.
His critics say he must open up the political scene, where rivals are not seen as enemies but contributors to democracy.
Read the original article on Nation.
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