By Katongole Kiwanuka – Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was on Thursday 12 May sworn in for the fourth time as the Head of State, at a colourful ceremony in Kampala, amid post-election tensions with the opposition. But as his supporters cheered and ululated, the opposition expressed concern over the state of democracy in Uganda, where opposition politicians have in the recent past been subjected to violence and brutality.
In Kampala, thousands of people, both the young and old, had thronged the Kololo ceremonial grounds to witness the swearing-in ceremony that was also attended by several African heads of state, including President Jakaya Kikwete, and diplomats.
“I, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, swear in the name of the almighty God that I shall peacefully exercise the functions of the president of Uganda and shall uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and observe the laws of Uganda and that I shall promote the welfare of the people of Uganda,” he swore.
Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki presented the instruments of power, including the Constitution and the Court of Arms to Mr Museveni, who was given a 21-gun salute before he inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Armed Forces.
As Mr Museveni was being sworn in for his new five-year term, his arch-rival, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, returned home to a tumultuous welcome by his supporters at Entebbe International Airport, following treatment in Kenya for injuries suffered in a brutal attack by plain clothed police in a Kampala street.
The 66-year-old Mr Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, took he oath before thousands of supporters and the leaders of several African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Speaking after being sworn in, President Museveni extolled the achievements of his National Resistance Movement (NRM) on the economy, education, roads and delivery of social services.