Yoweri Museveni: A five times-elected dictator? – Talk to Al Jazeera

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He’s ruled Uganda for 31 years.
With five presidential terms in office, Yoweri Museveni is surrounded by controversies related to freedom of speech, human rights, allegations of nepotism, and even the killing of Ugandan citizens.
But President Museveni claims Uganda is the most democratic country in the world and that he is leading his people out of poverty and to an even better future.
At 72, though, he’s three years away from the constitutional age limit to serve as President. But there is already speculation he will try to change that limit so he can get around it.
We’ll discuss all of this in an exclusive interview as he visited the State of Qatar.
Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, Talks to Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera: Human Rights Watch, in its latest report, criticised Uganda’s government’s dealings in terms of human rights. Suppression of free speech, putting dissidents in jail … we have the case of Stella Nyanzi who is still in jail just because she expressed herself. We also have the opposition leader who has been in jail several times. We have the government cracking down on opponents and preventing people from rallying freely. By law, more than five people should have the consent and agreement of the police before they can express themselves in the street.
Yoweri Museveni: Uganda is one of the most democratic countries in the world. In terms of free speech, we have something like 250 private radios, which say whatever they want. We have so many television stations, private … I don’t know how many you have here in Qatar, private ones … maybe you can tell me. I only see Al Jazeera. But for us, we have so many. The empowerment of women – many women compared to other countries – in leadership.
Al Jazeera: Why is activist Stella Nyanzi still in jail just because she expressed herself?

Museveni: If you are an activist and you commit an offence, because with human rights you must also speak of the rights of others, you cannot trample on the rights of others, and you say “it is my right to abuse other people”, to insult other people … no. Rights go with responsibilities – if you know anything about democracy.

Al Jazeera: More than just jail and cracking down on dissent, we have bloodshed in Uganda. In western Uganda, in Rwenzururu, just a few months ago, more than 100 people were killed by security forces who attacked a traditional cultural kingdom in the area, saying that that place had “terrorists” inside. What do you say to this?

Museveni: That issue is in court and according to our law, when something is in court I am not allowed to comment. The court will tell us whether those people were arrested for nothing or not.

Al Jazeera: We are talking about those who were killed, not those who are in court.

Museveni: Yes, even those who were killed. Were they killed for no reason – we shall find out from the court. It is in the court now. We call it the principle of sub judice. If I start saying they were wrong, they were this, they were that … then I’m interfering with the court. What I can tell you is since the matter is in the court, bring all your cameras, come to the court and film what they say. I invite you.

Al Jazeera: But we here, and the international audience of Al Jazeera, want to know what happened and we won’t be in court to see it. We want you, Mr President, to explain to us why you sent your troops to that area, to Kasese, to kill more than 100 people.

Museveni: Because they were breaking the law.

Al Jazeera: In what way? They were just guarding the palace [home of Omusinga Mumbere, king of the cultural institution] and they didn’t have any weapons.

Museveni: In Uganda, we’ve got many kings. They are not guarded by militias. They are guarded by the national army.

Al Jazeera: According to our facts, those people were killed and the king was persecuted because they were opposed to the president in the election. Because they are not pro-the ruling government.

Museveni: Not at all, and there are so many [opposed to the ruling government]. If they opposed the president, then what was the militia doing? Do political parties have militias?

Al Jazeera: Mr President, it seems that Ugandans are a little fed up with you because we are reading a lot of reports about this Facebook revolution. People are trying to go to the streets even though they are prevented and they are afraid, of course, of the security forces. They want to create something like the Arab Spring in Uganda. They are fed up because it has been more than three decades of your leadership and term after term after term, it is only one man ruling the country and the world around Uganda has changed. All presidents around Uganda have gone. Do you agree with me that there is a little bit of fatigue with your leadership?
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41 COMMENTS

  1. Museveni has never been a dictator Al jazeera should stop black mailing our President and respect him because Qatar has never held any elections…..thats the worst interview

  2. I don't like the interviewer, give the president a chance to answer – answer yourself if you know it all. Respect African leaders? What democracy is in Qatar, Qatar supports terrorism, what tangible interview has Aljazeera done?

  3. M7 has never been interviewed by anyone intelligent like Muhammad Vall, so Mr Vall don't you ever attempt to come to Uganda cuz if you do, you'll be kidnapped and killed by NRM.

  4. By the way!! imagine with all the opposition fights, hmmm!! people say i want to lead, not knowing you can serve ur nation even if not being a president, we all this so called yearning to come to power!! democracy, we know Exc Museveni gives all he can, just imagine if he was a king, how would that love be, !! with no people just intending to lead, #Monarchy gov't seems to be better than the so called republican!! where people just aim at coming to power, wasting time in politics instead of serving !! Hmm , Hope we could switch to #Monarchy governance: Sevo our king" starts the reign. ( may be people will stop yearning to come into power but concetrate on work, knowing from #king Yoweri Kaguta Museveni automatically the reign follows #Muhoozi. mmm in Jesus ' name Amen

  5. His Imperial Highness, long live M7.

    We don't need constant change of leadership in Africa, we need stability to foster cohesion, national integration and create nationalistic ideals among the diverse tribes forced together by colonialists to make these young African Nations.

    Only a fool doesn't see that the great nations of the world were built by people with common ideals/ culture and language almost in all cases under an emperor/king. Many such nations in Europe (U.K, Denmark) are still kingdoms.

    Democracy can't work in a young nation that hasn't even created an identity for it's self and has low levels of social development; i.e many people especially in the urban areas still have weak brains, however much they may think they are smart and exposed.

    That's why I say long live Mr. Museveni, much loved by most and feared by many.

  6. By the way, the wife was elected because she is the one with money and influence on her husband. It is not merit, it is fear and lack of choice. You can ask any Ugandan. Also this army interference in foreign countries is not to protect Ugandans but to protect himself from a potential overthrow, since it is the tactic he used to get into power i.e by allying with neighbours. kudos to Aljazeera for focusing on this dictator rather than the reporter and how good or important they are unlike some networks, especially CNN.Others networks exagerate too much, like BBC. So again, aljazeera, thanks.

  7. Thanks Aljazeera for exposing this fraud. Electricity black outs are a regular thing. Any one who complains about the president publicly either looses their job, life or gets trumped up charges and is imprisoned. This guy champions nepotism, tribalism and mostly elimination of decent. Most top generals in the army are relatives or tribesmates, This also goes for Ministry top level and mid level management officials. Big contracts are also awarded to mostly tribesmates and relatives of the president. By the way iam 30 yrs old and have a masters in Engineering but i assure you there are officials being recruited without the right qualifications or grossly underqualified with the commonality being, they are relatives or tribesmates of Museveni. By the way this is not hearsay, i have facts. Aljazeera reporter, you are lucky u are not Ugandan, otherwise this would be your last interview. Iam almost sure i will be flagged for this comment by the government trolls who patrol for comments of dissent.

  8. Reports this, reports that. This guy isn't stating a lot of factual things. Even an obese man could side step his questions. How do you ask the president if he's afraid of Facebook ? Man I don't know if he was rattled or ill prepared. I think the journalist meant well and is good but he just didn't bring it on this interview. Yes we know that the president does a lot of these things but there's knowing and there's proving it or for that matter pinning it in an interview

  9. This "President" is absolutely embarrassment to African leadership. The problem is that he sees everything through the scope of "freedom fighter against colonialism". Blame everything on colonial injustices that occurred 70 years ago. Africans need fresh blood in leadership. They need new 21st century minded young leaders yo come up. The likes of Musaveni only represent a relic of the past.

  10. This interviewer is the most unprofessional newscaster I've ever watched it's so embarrassing. Do Al Jazeera intentionally hire amateurs or just forget to double check their staff's qualifications. Al Jazeera's fake news reporting caused the divide in Libya and removal of Gaddafi, the so called "problem" of the once prosperous Libya now look at the country. Half are displaced round the world and the other half living in poverty that cannot govern theirselves. They are clearly trying to do the same to Uganda. This news reporter cant even match wits nor is he in par with the intelligence of Mr Museveni he is way out of his league. He's unprofessional, bias, he comes across so arrogant, clueless, uneducated all the qualities a news reporter should not portray.

  11. Uganda has been ravaged by civil war and in fighting ever since its independence, but for 30 years it has seen PEACE and STABILITY, its beyond belief these moronic journalist find it difficult to understand why the people of Uganda would vote for him. Don't get me wrong the younger generation who did not live through the wars, don't quite appreciate what this mas has done. The majority of Ugandans don't live in the big cities, it's those of live in the rural areas who keep Museveni in power, they see the peace and security he has brought and they are happy. But obviously Al jazeera will never give them a voice, they only give a voice to those who oppose the government, and sorry but those who oppose the government are not the majority, like it or not. Stop trying to deceive to the world that Museveni doesn't have large support in his own country, he also has opposition, which is only natural in any democracy, Theresa May has opposition, Justin Trudeau has opposition, Donald Trump has opposition. One does start to thing because Al jazeera is based in Doha, Qatar, which is a KINGDOM NOT A DEMOCRACY, they fail to understand that the opposition is a part of the story, but NOT the FULL story. Those who think Al Jazeera and all these other western media propaganda outlets truly care about Uganda you are fools, look at how their ENCOURAGED REGIME change have left LIbya and Syria, once the leader is overthrown, they don't care job done, its the people who then go on to suffer with the chaos and war.

  12. This is not a professional way to interview someone especially a president. When a journalist asks a question he/she is suppose to give the person whom he asked the question time to answer, but not interfere them while they talk. This man is just shouting behind the president and not giving him time at all. Please improve on that.

  13. The man needs to step down for real … He hasn't done much but to protect himself from losing the position of presidency ever since he became president ….. And the way he is vague about his answers is just not bringing me peace 😂😂😂😩😩😩…. I think he doesn't even understand what his mission is/was anymore… He is just leading because he has been elected the whole time as he claims; not that he has a mission to achieve 😏😏😏 smh

  14. Am not sure if the interviewer was combative or can be perceived as condescending. Museveni handled himself considering the poor record he is defending

  15. wabula miseveni you are good at defending your self but stop using sign language (your hands disgusts me and stop putting down the journalist just because he knows little of African culture
    buli kimu " it's our African culture "
    Mtswrrrrr

  16. Oh! Mr. President, would you please tell us when you gonna fill your big belly and leave power for the Ugandans to elect their leader freely ? All your answers are baseless and far from the truth!!

  17. Please I respect all submissions from everyone. However I stand to be corrected that am a Ugandan and I have been too observants on my fellow U gandans. The few Ugandan say we dislike Museveni and they shout loudly. Many Ugandans who knows what to do, do not engage in shouting but they act. There are reasons as to why someone may say he/she like so and so not the other. But with Museveni let no social media deceive Journalists that Ugandans do not like Museveni from where he found Uganda to where Uganda is now. Development is a gradual process so that is where Uganda is. Like Libya, people used to claim Gadaffi was bad but they realize him being good after killing him.

    That is what we shall see in Uganda soon. This is because the biggest population were born during Museveni's regime so nothing they know.

  18. ashamed to say he is my president.. he is beating around the Bush. ..he is a total failure to the people of Uganda and the person he was . Uganda would be far ..Rwanda which is like a district of Uganda is developing at a first rate than Uganda..

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