Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni

by Samuel Okiror

Uganda will go to the polls on Thursday to elect a new president who will lead the country for the next five years.

Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni
Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is one of the eight candidates vying for the east African country’s top job.
He came into power in 1986 after waging a five year guerrilla war, protesting the country’s 1980 elections. He argued that the elections were rigged by the government then.

Museveni was born in Ntungamo in southwestern Uganda in 1944 to Amos Kaguta, a cattle keeper.
During his university days at Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam in the late 1960s, he formed the University Students’ African Revolutionary Front, an activist group.

According to a website www.statehouse.go.ug, Museveni led a student delegation to the FRELIMO territory in Mozambique. FRELIMO was a liberation movement fighting for the independence of Mozambique from Portugal.

Although he was still young, he received military training in guerrilla war fare, skills which he later applied back home in the early 1980s.

After university in 1970 at the age of 26, Museveni joined the intelligence service of the government then. According to his admission, he joined government to learn how a government is ran not that he loved Milton Obote, the president then.

In the 1970’s, Museveni was involved in struggles to oust military strongman Idi Amin who had toppled Obote in a military coup.

When Amin was toppled in 1979, Museveni served as a minister of defense and vice chairman of the Military Council.

In 1981 he waged a five year guerrilla war after losing in what he called rigged elections held in December 1980.

Museveni’s coming into power in 1986 was welcomed by Ugandans who had suffered military brutality.

The international community also welcomed Museveni, seeing him as a new breed on the continent.

He implemented macro-economic policies which put back the country’s economy on a recovery trend. Uganda’s economy has been growing between 5-6 percent, according to government figures.

Museveni’s government is also globally acknowledged for pulling down the country’s HIV prevalence rate from 18 percent in the 1990’s to 6.4 percent in 2006. However the rate has rose to 7.3 percent in 2011, according to ministry of health figures.

Museveni has also been involved in helping resolve regional conflicts like the Burundi crisis, the 2008 Kenyan post-election crisis, the 2013 South Sudan political crisis, among others.

He has also been hailed for deploying Ugandan peacekeeping troops and police in volatile Somalia to help stabilize the Horn of Africa country.

In 2005, Museveni faced national and international criticism when legislators amended the country’s Constitution that barred a president to rule more than two consecutive five-year terms.

The abolition of the term limits paved the way for Museveni to run for the presidency in 2006 after completing two five-year terms.

In this election, Museveni will face off with other seven presidential candidates including his former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi whom he sacked in September 2014 for harboring presidential ambitions within the ruling party.

Museveni’s main political opponents are his former physician Kizza Besigye who has challenged him thrice in 2001, 2006, 2011 and Mbabazi, also the former NRM party Secretary General. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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