Museveni, one-time critic of clinging to energy, wins sixth time period

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Yoweri Museveni has already dominated Uganda for 35 years – and he’s now set for 5 extra.

The veteran chief was declared on Saturday the winner of Uganda’s presidential election, cementing his place among the many world’s longest-serving leaders.

The outcomes, which have been rejected by the opposition, adopted one of many bloodiest campaigns in years, with at the very least 54 folks killed in November as safety forces violently broke down opposition protests. Opposition figures, in the meantime, had been repeatedly harassed and arrested, whereas members of the media additionally got here beneath assault.

Most important opposition chief Bobi Wine has dismissed the electoral course of as a rigged “sham”, however Museveni, in a televised handle to the nation on Saturday, stated Thursday’s polls might become Uganda’s “most cheating-free election” since independence from Britain in 1962.

Shortly after Museveni took energy in 1986, ending years of bloodshed and chaos by the hands of leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote, the younger president had complained about leaders who “overstayed” their welcome.

However practically 35 years later, Museveni has joined the ranks of these he as soon as criticised, profitable a sixth time period in workplace.

Unbound by Uganda’s structure – it was amended twice to take away presidential time period and age limits – critics accuse the previous insurgent fighter, who by no means speaks publicly of succession and has damaged previous guarantees to face down, of turning into more and more autocratic and eager to rule for all times.

In lengthy, meandering speeches typically laced with peasant folklore – he was raised by cattle herders in western Uganda – Museveni appealed for extra time throughout the marketing campaign, likening himself to a farmer leaving a plantation simply because it begins bearing fruit.

Hardly ever too does “the outdated man who saved the nation” miss an opportunity to hark again to his heroics within the bush wars – generally exchanging his trademark safari hat and yellow shirt for camouflage fatigues to drive residence the purpose.

Talking about his years in energy, in an interview to Al Jazeera in 2017, Museveni had stated: “[During this time, we were able to] begin from zero, to the place we are actually, we’re in a position to do issues by ourselves.”

At 76 – although some opponents say he’s older – Museveni says he’s combating match, sometimes performing push-ups earlier than crowds and jogging in his workplace.

Museveni studied political science and economics on the College of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, within the Sixties when the establishment acted as a form of revolutionary ending college for anti-colonialists.

When Amin seized energy in Uganda in 1971, Museveni returned to Tanzania in exile the place he based the Entrance for Nationwide Salvation, which helped take away Amin in 1979.

In 1980, Museveni ran for Uganda’s president. When the polls – broadly believed to have been rigged – had been gained by Obote, Museveni led a revolt from the bush, which ultimately prevailed in 1986.

He was elected to the publish of the president 10 years later and gained re-election in 2001 and once more in 2006 after a constitutional modification handed the earlier yr had eradicated established time period limits for the presidency. He was re-elected once more in 2011 and 2016, though his victories had been stricken by allegations of irregularities.

In his 35-year reign, Museveni has fused state and get together so successfully, and crushed political opposition, that any severe problem to him or his Nationwide Resistance Motion was made unimaginable.

A crafty strategist, Museveni additionally positioned himself as one thing of an elder statesman and peacemaker in a risky area – at the same time as his forces had been marauding within the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and backing rebels in different war-torn corners.

His deployment of troops to combat in Somalia, and an open-door coverage to refugees, gained favour from international donors who critics say turned a blind eye to his abuses at residence and warmongering overseas.

Museveni refused these claims. This “[was the result of] fraternal solidarity … that is the custom of African freedom fighters, I’m a part of the African freedom fighters,” he advised Al Jazeera in 2017.

“As a result of [of] our liberation struggles, as a result of we fought two wars, and defeated them by our personal means, we have now a convention of combating,” he added.

When he was requested about the potential for being thought-about a dictator, following the earlier disputed re-election in 2016, Museveni replied: ” [A] dictator who’s elected 5 instances; that have to be a beautiful dictator.”

“That have to be a particular one, elected 5 instances, with at all times an enormous majority, that have to be a beautiful dictator.”

Having now been president longer than most Ugandans have been alive, Museveni will now proceed his rule over a inhabitants the place three-quarters are under 30 and have by no means recognized anybody else in cost.