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Museveni unmoved by Obama swipe - aide

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Jul 13, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 13, 2009
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    Monitor Team

    President Museveni needs no lecture on democracy, politics or economics from any foreign leader including American President Barrack Obama, his spokesman said yesterday as the government remained bullish over the US leader’s weekend powerful speech to Africa that took a swipe at leaders overstaying in power. Mr Museveni has been in power for the last 23 years.

    Responding to Mr Obama’s speech delivered on Saturday in the Ghanaian capital Accra to mark his first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa as US President, Mr Tamale Mirundi said western leaders should take time to listen to Mr Museveni on matters about Africa and not the reverse. “Our President doesn’t need lectures about Africa. He is an expert on African affairs,” said Mr Mirundi in a telephone interview yesterday. “Instead, the other leaders should listen to him.”

    Mr Obama sent a strong warning to corrupt African governments and their despotic leaders determined to stay in power, in a message that said America would have no time for undemocratic countries. In his speech, Mr Obama took aim at Africa’s dictators who have changed constitutions to remove term limits, rigged elections and suppressed legitimate opposition with brutality, used taxpayers money to enrich themselves and cronies, and those who have violated the independence of the judiciary and the media. “Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions,” Mr Obama said, adding:“No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy; that is tyranny”.

    A cross-section of opposition politicians suggested yesterday through interviews that Mr Obama must have had President Museveni in mind when he delivered his riveting speech to the Ghanaian Parliament.

    FDC Deputy President Salaamu Musumba lauded Mr Obama for his speech but said the American President “was talking to deaf fellows”, as she expressed pessimism over change on the continent. “Obama has to do more to work with the people to liberate this continent from people who rule with the constitution not by the constitution,” she added.

    Conservative Party President John Ken Lukyamuzi who chairs the Interparty Cooperation said the opposition would still push for a restoration of term limits in the country. “We have not got any convincing reasons as to why Uganda changed the constitution. Just like Obama said, those leaders who change constitutions to remain in power are selfish dictators and for us in the opposition we still want the amendment recalled,” he said.

    President Museveni’s ruling NRM Party oversaw the deletion of presidential term limits in 2005 to allow him run for office for a third term in 2006, a decision that has attracted a lot of criticism for Mr Museveni from both the opposition and donors.

    Mr Mirundi however, said, “revolutionary” parties such as the NRM “are not guided by term limits because we chose our leaders based on the challenges of the day.” While many African countries are seen to have embraced democracy by enacting constitutions and holding regular elections, democratic practices are virtually none existent and if they do, remain largely on paper, a matter formed part of the subject of Mr Obama’s address.
    The US President, who singled out Tanzania in the East African region for praise, was critical of Kenya’s democratic path and silent on Uganda.
    Responding to his Saturday speech, Makerere University political scientist Aaron Mukwaya said yesterday that he doubted whether the “African leaders are likely to change their leadership tenderises” while fellow don and historian Mwambutsya Ndebesa said “Obama made a great comment of calling upon the youths to take charge of holding accountable their leaders rather than supporting governments for the purpose of survival.”