All set for Museveni’s 6th inauguration
President Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday to witness the swearing-in of Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with the ceremony set to be attended by 4 000 guests and dignitaries in line with Covid-19 guidelines.
It was a hive of activity at Entebbe International Airport as delegates arrived for the sixth inauguration of President Museveni.
The President, who is accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava and Deputy Chief Secretary Presidential Communications in the Office of the President, Mr George Charamba, will join other Heads of State and Government at the ceremony to be held today at Kololo Independence Grounds.
President Mnangagwa was welcomed at Entebbe International Airport by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Kenya and Uganda, Winpeg Moyo
Soon after arrival, President Mnangagwa went into a briefing with some Zimbabwean and top Ugandan officials before he was whisked to his hotel 40km away with the cheering crowds waving at the motorcade as it passed.
In an interview on arrival, Foreign affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Shava said: “The President is here to witness the swearing in ceremony of his counterpart. We have good relations with Uganda in the African Union. Uganda also has been our friend since Independence. Just like us, Uganda was colonised by Britain.”
President Museveni was declared winner with 58 percent of the poll result while his main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, had 35 percent.
According to the Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, 21 heads of State from Africa and the rest of the world confirmed attendance.
Ms Mbayo said President Museveni had extended invitation to 42 heads to attend his swearing in ceremony themed, “Securing your future”.
She said that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party’s goal is to transform Uganda from a peasant to a modern, industrial and prosperous society by 2040.
“All invited guests will undergo Covid-19 tests. The National Organising Committee has taken all necessary measures to ensure proper social distancing,’’ she said.
Other countries represented are Rwanda, India, Japan, Germany and the East African Community.
Zimbabwe and Uganda enjoy cordial relations with President Museveni constantly coming out in support of the country’s land reform programme and castigating Western governments for ostracising and demonising Zimbabwe.
In 2019 President Museveni visited Zimbabwe where the two leaders agreed to enhance economic cooperation guided by the two countries’ General Agreement on Economic, Technical, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, as well as the current realities of the two countries and the continent at large.
President Mnangagwa had said the visit by President Museveni soon after the coming in of the new dispensation was special as it gave both countries an opportunity to reignite the Pan-African spirit engrained in the two nations.
“Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1980, Zimbabwe and Uganda have enjoyed cordial relations at the political level. Your visit affords us an opportunity to share our socio-economic and political experiences, to improve the quality of life of our people,” President Mnangagwa said then.
Uganda was granted independence by Britain in 1962.
President Museveni assumed power in 1986. He immediately appointed a government from across ethnic lines, re-established the rule of law and set up a Human Rights Commission.
Foreign investment and tourism were encouraged by this move and Uganda’s economy began to grow.
According to Ms Mbayo, Uganda’s economy has since “expanded by 16 times’’ and notched up “to Shs64 trillion (about US$24 billion)’’ under NRM’s governance as opposed to “1986 where it was merely at US$1.5 billion”.
Other heads of State present include Presidents of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo, South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi and Namibia Hage Geingob.