President Museveni Wednesday says he will “accept the results” if he loses the January 14 election.
“Uganda is not my house. If I lose the election, I will go to my house and do my own thing if the views of Uganda don’t want me to help them with their issues…I go and deal with my personal issues very happily,” Mr Museveni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
President Museveni further said he deserves a shot at another five-year term partly because his government helped 80 of Uganda’s current population (45 million) survive childhood diseases.
“And we have given them education. We have also given them a base for the economy and we have a good budget and we can support them (youth),” Mr Museveni added.
Ugandans go to the poll today, with ten other candidates challenging incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, commander-in-chief of the military, who has been in power since 1986, a tenure marked by an assault on democracy, critics say.
Mr Museveni has been president longer than most Ugandans have been alive, but the 76-year-old leader shows no sign of retiring as he seeks yet again to extend his rule.
Shortly after Mr Museveni took power in 1986, ending years of bloodshed and chaos under murderous tyrants, the young president mused that leaders were overstaying their welcome lay at the heart of Africa’s problems.
But nearly four decades later the introspection is gone and Museveni – once hailed in the West as a model African leader committed to good governance – ranks among the world’s longest-serving and, increasingly, authoritarian rulers.
His genial face and penchant for folksy parables belie a past as a wily guerrilla fighter and a ruthless political survivor.
In his 35-year reign, Museveni has fused state and party so effectively, and crushed political opposition so totally, that any serious challenge to either him or his National Resistance Movement (NRM) is impossible, Daily Monitor reports.
Many see his return to the office for a sixth straight term after January 14 elections as a foregone conclusion.
Three-quarters of Ugandans are under 30, so most of the country has never known anyone else in charge.
At 76 -although some opponents say he is older – Mr Museveni says he is fighting fit, occasionally performing pushups before crowds and jogging in his office.
In 2020, he joined Instagram and added a childhood name, Tibuhaburwa, to his official title.
Unbound by Uganda’s constitution – it was amended twice to remove presidential term and age limits – many believe Museveni, who never speaks publicly of succession and has broken past promises to stand down, plans to rule for the rest of his days.