7 heads of state to attend Museveni swearing-in fete

Monday May 09 2011
Mus Im

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. Photo/FILE

At least seven heads of state and government have confirmed attendance of President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, an official has said.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on telephone yesterday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ chief of Protocol Vasta Rwankonte, who could not give details of presidents for security reasons, said four more confirmations are expected to be in by Thursday.

“We are doing everything to get ready for the event and so far things are going as planned and we shall have everything ready by Wednesday morning,” she said, adding that of all invitations sent out, none has replied with regret.

The Presidency Minister, Dr Beatrice Wabudeya, also told Daily Monitor that everything is ready and all government departments are working to make the day a success.
When Daily Monitor visited Kololo Independence grounds, the venue of the function, groundsmen and event organisers were putting final touches to the place.

Tents and Road kerbs, freshly painted in black, were being set up and a new VIP tent, spotting shining tiles, had been erected where the presidential dais will be. Nearby, security and protocol officers were rehearsing how to usher in invited VIPs.

It will be President Museveni’s fifth swearing in ceremony as President and the second in a multi party dispensation.
However, the opposition and Forum for Democratic Change in particular, have distanced themselves from the event, saying that they do not recognise Mr Museveni as the duly elected president of Uganda.


FDC not attending
Asked whether they have received any invitations to the event, FDC’s vice president for eastern Uganda, Salaam Musumba, said she is not aware yet.

“I am going to attend a meeting tomorrow with other party officials but they should not even bother sending invitations because we have made it clear to them that we do not support the election results which have produced a turbulent leader.”

Pressed on whether Dr Kizza Besigye will attend in case the invitation has already been sent, she said, “Let them (govt) not even bother to send because we are having another swearing ceremony elsewhere.”
She, however, did not say where the parallel swearing-in ceremony will be.

The opposition is also opposed to the Shs2.8b swearing-in budget, saying it was too extravagant and proposed a slash down to shs1b. Before Parliament slashed the budget to shs2.8b, the President’s office had asked for shs4b, citing inflation and the long list of invited guests.

A budget break down shows that Shs281m will cater for printing invitation cards, Shs100m for seats and ushers while music will cost Shs118m.