Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni vowed to boost exports and raise the East African nation to middle-income status as he was sworn in for another five-year term.
Museveni, 71, took the oath of office during a ceremony in the capital, Kampala, attended by leaders from the continent including Tanzanian President John Magufuli, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Umar al-Bashir of Sudan and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. The proceedings were broadcast on NBS Television.
The ruling party “has brought Uganda from the abyss of insecurity and despair to now the threshold of becoming a middle-income country by 2020,” Museveni said. “We would indeed have already become a middle-income country, if we had more decisively handled the issue of exports -- in the coming five years we are going to aggressively handle this issue.”
The Electoral Commission said Museveni, who’s ruled Africa’s biggest coffee exporter since 1986 and is one of the continent’s longest-serving leaders, won the Feb. 18 vote with 61 percent of ballots. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change says its candidate, Kizza Besigye, was the victor and has alleged election fraud, charges dismissed by Uganda’s Supreme Court. International observers also raised questions over the vote’s credibility. Besigye was arrested Wednesday after staging his own swearing-in ceremony.
The presence of al-Bashir, who’s been indicted for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, drew criticism from New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Museveni “has banned social media and detained some opposition leaders, but he’ll tarnish his inauguration further by welcoming Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, an international fugitive sought for alleged atrocities in Darfur,” Maria Burnett, senior African researcher with the group, said in an e-mailed statement. She urged Ugandan authorities to arrest him.
Museveni dismissed the court when introducing members of his audience, including al-Bashir.
“We have lost interest in ICC,” he said. “It is a useless body.”