President Yoweri Museveni (74), who has been in power for 31 years, has always found a way to justify his long reign. His party is rumoured to be scheming to amend the Ugandan constitution in order to remove the 75-year age barrier for presidential candidates so that Museveni can contest again / Photo: SCN

Being president for a very long time is not a bad thing, says Uganda’s Museveni

One of the longest serving African presidents, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni has stated that being a president for a long time has given him more experience.

The 72-year-old leader made the remark on Tuesday during the State of the Nation address in parliament that lasted for three-hours due to heckling by the opposition, local media The Observer reports .

“Being president for a very long time is not a bad thing. That is why I am experienced … Even if you woke me up at night, I would tell you what is happening,” he said off the script in response to opposition taunts for his longevity in power.

“If you want to be a leader, you should avoid prejudice because prejudice can make you live with envy; you will end up getting high blood pressure,” he was quoted as saying.

Museveni who has been in power for 31 years has always found a way to justify his long-reigning presidency.

“This old man who has saved the country, how do you want him to go? How can I go out of a banana plantation I have planted that has started bearing fruits?” he said in 2016 ahead of the general elections which he won for his fifth term in office.

Museveni’s address, which marked the opening of the second session of the 10th Parliament, was to a country that is reeling from a wave of violent crime and insecurity. The president was keen to reassure the population that his ruling NRM government was committed to securing the country by “closing the [loose security] gaps”.

The Ugandan president outlined peace, development of the infrastructure and the human resource; wealth creation, job creation, and market access as the five key issues that will be major drivers towards economic stability for his country.

Corruption however remains a serious problem in Uganda and Museveni has faced criticisms for not tackling the problem. He recently criticized state agencies including the police for not doing enough to fight corruption within their ranks.

Adira Kallo

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