President Yoweri Museveni yesterday used the Inter party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) summit at Munyonyo, Kampala, to take a swipe at those clamoring for his retirement.
He said his stay in power was a mission about “securing Ugandans’ prosperity and Africa’s strategic security”,which is far from complete. Museveni said talk about “transition” was periphery and beside the point in the grand scheme of things in Uganda.
The President said talking him into retirement was not an option because he did not look at political office as employment or a means of survival like many do.
The inaugural IPOD summit was graced by Museveni and the presidents of the Democratic Party (Norbert Mao),Uganda People’s Congress (Jimmy Akena) and Justice Forum (Asuman Basalirwa).Museveni made the comments in response to Mao and Akena’s earlier submission that it would be wonderful for him (Museveni) to attend the inauguration of a president who is not himself.
“I hear people like Mao talking about transition and elections. That is not important. The issue is how we can fosterprosperity for our people. That is one of my main occupations,” he said,describing himself as a herder who is gainfully employed.
“Instead of the political class talking about the destiny of Africa, they are busy talking about petty issues such as elections. As long as I still have energy, I will not tire raising these issues because they are my reason for being in politics.”
Museveni highlighted the colonization of the African continent with the exception of Ethiopia as a lasting reminder of how dangerous failure to secure strategic security of a country or region can be.
In January 2019, Museveni will make 33 years at the helm. The issue of his long stay in power is one of the cannon fodders available to his detractors at every election cycle. Earlier,the President had conceded to remarks by a number of speakers who described dialogue as the first step to building a viable democracy.
Harking back to the Nairobi peace talks that he had with Tito Okello in 1985, Museveni noted that he was not afraid to dialogue. He said his decision to attend the summit had nothing to do with what Mao described as “applying electricity current” on him.
“I come with my head and I do not have to agree with you. But its good to dialogue because it helps me put my position across clearly,” Museveni said.