At 11.54am (0854 GMT) Thursday May 12, President Yoweri Museveni took the oath of office to lead Uganda until 2021, amidst strong show of support by his peers, with at least a dozen current and former African heads of states gracing the inauguration ceremony.
This is President Museveni’s sixth swearing-in (fifth after a General Election) since he took power in 1986.
In attendance at the Kololo Independence Grounds in the capital Kampala were East African Community partner states Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli and the newest member of the bloc South Sudan’s Salva Kiir. Rwanda and Burundi, the other member states, sent representatives.
They were joined by other African leaders including Chadian president Idris Debby, who is also the chairman of the African Union, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Omar al Bashir of Sudan, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, King Letsie III of Lesotho and Ibrahim Boubabacar of Mali.
President Bashir, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, was the first president to jet into the country Thursday morning for the ceremony. His visit comes after ten years of diplomatic row between the two countries.
On Wednesday, in a show of support for Museveni, President Magufuli skipped a London trip where he was scheduled to address the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit, for two-day Kampala visit.
He was among only two African leaders invited, the other being Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari. Both have demonstrated renewed zeal to fight corruption in their respective countries as new presidents. Magufuli sent his prime minister to the UK in his stead.
Former Tanzanian presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete were also present in Kampala.
After three decades in power, President Museveni, 71, will be serving his final term as mandated by constitutional age limit of 75 years. Mr Museveni is however faced with an unrelenting opposition which Wednesday staged a mock swearing-in of Dr Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change who maintains he won the February 18 election.
After taking oath of office, Mr Museveni said his government will prioritise income generation projects to ensure Uganda achieves a middle-income status. He said this as he laid out his government’s strategy for the next five years on how to deliver his campaign promises to the voters.
Additional reporting from The Citizen.