Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony is ongoing and many invited leaders seem to have ditched the big occasion.
The president, who just got sworn in moments ago by the chief justice for a controversial fifth term at the Kololo Independence Grounds in the capital, Kampala, had invited several African and international leaders to his echo-making event. The African leaders invited include Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Tanzania’s John Magufuli.
Also, the country invited twelve heads of states and five prime ministers with officials from the Chinese Communist Party and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement to Museveni’s inauguration. It is also alleged that the government has sent an invite to President Barrack Obama of the United States of America – who obviously didn’t honour the invitation.
But in all the invitations, not many of the leaders made it to the event as the man of the moment was handed over the instruments of power – the constitution, the coat of arms, the flag and the shield and sword, which is the symbol of the army – in the absence of some of his counterparts who missed the event.
Cultural groups entertained the audience at the crowded stadium as yellow, the colour of the ruling party, could be seen everywhere. The election result which saw the 71-year-old Mr Museveni win has been slammed by opposition leader Kizza Besigye. Kizza Besigye was also arrested and flown to the north-eastern Karamoja region on Wednesday after he swore himself in as the country’s new president.
Opposition leader had dismissed Mr Museveni’s 61% victory as a sham, saying the poll was manipulated.
Social media has also been on a shut down since yesterday in Uganda. Additionally, police have blocked all roads leading to the Kololo Independence Grounds in the capital, Kampala, forcing ordinary people to have no other option than to walk.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has been castigated by a leading rights group for inviting his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir to his inauguration, despite the fact that he is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
— Uganda Media Centre (@UgandaMediaCent) May 12, 2016
In a statement, Human Rights Watch researcher, Maria Burnett said that Mr Museveni has banned social media, detained opposition leader Kizza Besigye and was blackening his inauguration further by welcoming Mr Bashir.
“Bashir belongs before the International Criminal Court, not attending inaugural celebrations.”
Mr Bashir dismissed the charges, citing that the ICC is a political tool of Western powers. Uganda and almost all other African states have agreed not to execute the ICC’s arrest warrant for him.