Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was sworn in for a fourth term, pledging to defeat “disruptive schemes” as police sprayed teargas to disperse hundreds of supporters of the main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye.
The crowd had gathered on the road from the airport after Besigye landed on a flight from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, where he was treatment for injuries he suffered during his arrest in Uganda on April 28.
“We won an overwhelming victory in all the regions of Uganda” in elections on Feb. 18, Museveni said at a ceremony in the capital, Kampala, today. “I would, therefore, call upon those who have been pushing sectarian ideas and pushing opportunism to join the national consensus instead of being desperate and embarking on disruptive schemes.”
The Ugandan leader won with 68.38 percent of the vote, extending his term to 30 years, while Besigye, head of the Forum Democratic Change, garnered 26 percent. Four opposition parties claimed the vote was rigged and rejected the outcome, calling for a fresh election.
Besigye has been repeatedly arrested as he led protests against surging prices for food and gasoline. Inflation accelerated to 14.1 percent in April from 11.1 percent in March, as food costs jumped 31 percent, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics said on April 29.
Kenya Airways Ltd. (KNAL) said yesterday that Besigye was denied entry to a flight to Uganda after the company learned it wasn’t allowed to land at the main Entebbe airport with him on board. It issued Besigye and his wife new tickets later in the day.
Ugandan police fired teargas to clear demonstrators who had blocked the road to the airport and stoned police today, Judith Nabakooba, a spokesman for the force, said in a phone interview.
Museveni ranks as one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders along with Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya, Mugabe and until February, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Uganda is Africa’s second- biggest coffee grower after Ethiopia, and the continent’s leading producer of the robusta variety of the bean.
To contact the reporters on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at email@example.com.