Museveni left squirming in hard-hitting BBC interview

By Henry D Gombya

President Yoweri Museveni in London for the Somali conference. He told a BBC interviewer that he didn't eat chicken because he believes those who do end up being unstable. (Photo by Twaha Mukiibi)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was left squirming and looking for answers in London on Thursday after Stephen Sackur, a veteran BBC journalist who anchors a BBC current affairs programme HARDtalk asked him hard-hitting questions regarding his lengthy stay in power, the behaviour of his security forces with regards to demonstrators especially during the Walk to Work demonstrations, the overruling of his own national parliament over oil contracts, the endemic corruption eating away his quarter of a century administration, whether he was happy to be in the company of African leaders like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Equatorial Guinea’s Nguema Mbasogo and Senegal’s Paul Biya, all of whom have outlived their welcome in power, and whether he would consider not seeking another term of office in 2016.

Sackur introduced his programme by telling millions of viewers worldwide that sitting in front of him was a man who in the 1990s the West had held as a key figure in a new era of African leaders capable of delivering political and economic progress. He went on to say that since then, the gloss had worn off the Museveni presidency especially when he made a much-criticised intervention in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which his soldiers pillaged leaving Uganda with a big debt to pay after the International Court of Justice ordered Uganda to repay compensation to the DRC.

The BBC anchor went on to explain to his viewers that at home, Museveni’s era now faces serious scrutiny after campaigners for democratic reforms, gay rights and clean government, had now all fallen foul of Ugandan security forces. Having been in power since 1986, Sackur reminded his viewers again that soon after coming to power, President Museveni wrote a book ‘What is Africa’s problem’ in which the president seemed to have reached a conclusion that Africa’s problem emanated from leaders who overstayed in power. Sackur then turned to President Museveni and asked: “After a quarter of a century in power, have you forgotten your own words?”

Looking rather bewildered that anyone would dare ask him such a question, the Uganda leader replied: “I’ve not forgotten my words. What I meant was, people who stay long in power without being elected. And the quarter of a century you are talking about I’ve been in government I’ve been elected all the time.” To be precise, Mr Museveni came to power in January 1986. He immediately banned all political parties and it was not until May 9, 1996, just over ten years after he had started his reign, that he organised elections and strictly under one-party rule, the National Resistance Movement.

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19 Responses to Museveni left squirming in hard-hitting BBC interview

  1. Tired Ugandans says:

    Museven is now a foreign policy disaster who should be restrained from making such visits and where need be his access to press should be denied at all costs.

    U all remember what he said when he reported us (Ugandans) during his visit to his relatives in Rwanda that all the people he work with in Uganda are thieves and only last week he went and abused not only the Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki but also his host prime minister Raila Odinga. He abused Kibaki by telling him that he is stupid to leave power early and he abused Odinga by asking why he is hungry for power like Besigye of Uganda. And called all Kenyans more so the people of Kisumu who wanted charge almost 5 years ago that they are fools for disturbing the old man Kibaki not to allow him to die in office. We got annoyed when the late Gaddafi advised Museveni to die in office. So how are Kenyans feeling when Museveni goes there and tells their leaders the same that staying in office till death is good?

    Now after three days ago, again he made another bogus interview in London full of lies and Vodu allegations. We re tired.

  2. Jessica Nakawombe says:

    Yes, bring the man on neutral ground, in Europe where he won’t feel that he is the king, Ssabagabe, he will look like a hunted rabbit. I heard part of it and Museveni was so shifty in his responses. He was not even so sure of himself as he is when in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania or in Africa. Bannage ensolo eri ku kizigo, ebitimba mutege eneetere okufubutuka! Mutege amafumu mwewonye kubanga egenda kufubutuka nagomu buto gonna. Ensolo kweri ku kizigo. Ku luno etuli mu ngalo.

    • Jessica thanks for your comment. In future please stick to English to enable readers the world over understand what you are talking about. Pity the majority will not understand half of what you wrote! Editor.

      • Jessica Nakawombe says:

        Thanks Editor,
        Some words and phrases carry much weight in their original setting and language. As a student of language and culture, some translations either change the whole meaning or it saps out its importance.
        I have no problem in someone else doing the translation.
        In the UN delegates use their mother tongue to address the Conferences then others translate. It is believed that people express themselves better in their own languages. That translations dilute the message or even portray different one.
        Thanks for giving me this chance to express myself.

        • Jessica, you are most welcome. It is not that the editorial team couldn’t translate Luganda. It is because we are very few and barely have the time to edit the paper and do the translations at the same time. We do have people here who speak different African languages but once we allow one reader to write in their language, we cannot possibly refuse others. And given the hundreds of languages spoken in Africa, that would be a hill we possiobly couldn’t afford to climb. That is why as an English online newspaper, we will stick to the use of the English language that most of our readers understand. Your comment was read by hundreds of thousands of people in North America, Australia, Japan and here in Europe. Get the message?

          • Rev. Jessica Nakawombe says:

            Bannage ensolo eri ku kizigo, ebitimba mutege eneetere okufubutuka! Mutege amafumu mwewonye kubanga egenda kufubutuka nagomu buto gonna. Ensolo kweri ku kizigo. Ku luno etuli mu ngalo.

            Translation:
            Fellow hunters, get ready to hunt down the animal for it is here indeed. Get your spears ready for the kill for it is smelling death and will rush out so desperate so be ready but careful. This is an analogy of hunters while hunting as our ancestors did.

  3. Richard Mugarura says:

    Kicks of a dying horse!!!..Our biggest problem in Uganda today is Museveni and his corrupt thugs. We’re so sick and tired of them! M7 go ASAP. it’s time up!
    Richard Mugarura,Kampala.

  4. mansa musa says:

    Watched the interview. He was not squirming though the questions were tough. His answers were on point and legitimate.

  5. Goodman says:

    There’s no good president Uganda has had like President Museven. People who are talking the above nosense, are the ones putting the country behind. Give him support and do what you are supporsed to do as a citizen of Uganda, the country will move forward. Museven, we love you.

  6. Ashaba says:

    Goodman! Stop praising that man Museveni. You dont know what it means to flee our country because of our sexuality. We a suffering in foreign lands. We lost everything back home because of Museveni and his Bahati and here he is lying to people that he doesn’t hate gays. Why can’t he stop that silly Bill against us that has been retabled since he has the power to defy the parliament. Both him and his wife Janet are ruling Uganda as if it’s their family. We want change. Twakoowa (We are tired). I am sure Editor you will agree with me on this.

  7. Nangayi Guyson says:

    Sometimes I wonder, when I hear of people like this ( so called Goodman) defending Museveni. You good man!!! Are you in Uganda and do you see or know what people go through? Where we have reached , we no long need Museveni. He is tired and too old to run Uganda now. He can’t run the country of this new Era. For the country like Uganda now needs people who are energetic, patriotic , updated and focused to developments of the country. The people we want are within us. We don’t need any one affiliated to Museveni to lead us. Look at the level of corruption in the country and he claims he was elected. By who? Who can elect thugs to rule a God given country like Uganda? They elect themselves always but time is running out and we shall prove to the world that they we not elected.

    • Rev. Jessica Nakawombe says:

      Exactly. Older people usually do greater things, but for Museveni, he is tired after trying to keep himself in power for the last 20 years since he is been in rotten power for the last 28 years while manipulating the constitution and rigging all elections by hook or crook. He has clung on so hard. Spent every taxpayers’ money.

  8. Rev. ISK says:

    Most African leaders who have been in power for more than a decade, came in by the gun and the only language they understand is the gun language. All these dictators; Idi Amin, Obote, Mugabe, Museven, Gaddhafi, Sese Seku (Mobutu), Sadat, Kagame to name a few, came in by the gun and left or will leave by the gun nothing else. We pray that those who are on the way out [ensure] that less blood will be shed [as they are forced out].

  9. David Henry Luggya says:

    Corruption will probably be the most vivid memory Ugandans will ever have of this regime. Corruption has become a major economic agent in this country with many public officials either sighted in its practice and/or being tried for the same. However, the vice is continually on an increase in all sectors ranging from industry, the judiciary, health sector and slowly creeping into even the clergy and education. Nepotism on the other hand is another painful practice orchestrated by the NRM with the biggest number of the most influential persons coming from the same ethnic grouping. This many Ugandans from other groups like the Baganda, the East and the North view as a major plot to divert the country’s resources to a single ethnic group while sidelining the rest and depriving them of a chance to prosperity that they equally deserve.
    In a nutshell, the NRM set out to bring about democracy and the rule of law, economic and social transformation which were embarked on for about ten years until the whole objective was lost. Militarism, nepotism, corruption and disregard for the judiciary set in which continue to eat into the heart of this country and as long as the NRM under Museveni stays in power, Uganda as a country is doomed.

  10. steven kasiko says:

    The donor countries should help Ugandans to get rid of Museveni .He has turned democracy into a mockery misusing state resources to bribe voters killing innocent Ugandans in order to prolong his stay in power.We request that Museveni should be taken to the ICC court to account for his atrocities on the people of Uganda.Let the donors help us as they did with Gaddafi.

  11. Wolimbwa.Andrew says:

    President Museveni,my only advise to you is,please leave power while still loved.It is not too late for you to declare and say this is your last term regardless of whether the NRM party is still in your favor or otherwise.Such a statement,will go a long way in patching up the already tainted image & legacy which you & your government had indeed worked hard to build but now terribly on the wane.

    Where as,a cross section of a few Ugandans still need you around,more so some Generals who are largely your tribe-mates and other “big” beneficiaries of the regime,it is not wise for you to carry on beyond 2016 as President of Uganda.Simply Step aside and pass the mantle to someone else.Do not wait until you are a disgrace to this Nation and end up like your former counter part-late Gadaffi and other fallen dictators.

    No doubt,you were one of the most respected heads of state world over,but you have now messed up your own legacy and it will even get worse as long as you are still hesitant to hang up your boots.

  12. othieno john says:

    thanks for all your ideas.really it shows the spirit of nationalism. i was born during museveni’s regime and my mum used to tell me of the bads of the past regimes but today i have grown up to 22 yr and i can maturely compare all the regimes. M7 was good when he had just obtained power in the 3 years but after wards he has become a mess to ugandans. i have just graduated but no jobs ,tribalism ,corruption ,the list is endless. there could be a problem with African leaders.

  13. Ugandan says:

    M7 has probably done more for Uganda than any other person in history and he’s done a lot for Africa as well. He saved Uganda from being a failed state like Somalia, he helped Kagame end the Rwandese genocide, he helped South Sudan attain independence and he is now helping stabilize Somalia. Not to mention pushing for an East African political federation. These alone would make him one of the greatest Africans alive today.

    Like any other country, Uganda has problems. But if anyone can fix these problems, this guy can.

  14. KANYIKE EDRINE says:

    Museveni is a complacent and desensitized dictator with a high level of impunity.

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