Museveni tells social media critics: “I have been in power for long because people still love me”

Edris Kiggundu

Edris Kiggundu

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Following last week’s the visit to Uganda by President Paul Kagame, many people have been asking why he visited. President Museveni took off time over the weekend to reply to a number of queries raised by his social media followers about Kagame’s visit and other issues. He also addressed the question of why he has been in power for more than 30 years.

Below is the exchange between Museveni and the followers.

Museveni: Friends, parents of Africa, starting with East Africa and grand children.
Jajja (grandparent) has been away for more than two weeks. However, my team has been holding the fort. I am going to reply some of your comments from the visit of President Kagame.
I am glad that so many of you – @abdullahimuhidd , @kabbiazi , @kagzben, @turahirwathier2 , Chrispinus Mabele , @OtimcarsonOtim , @BirdingRwanda , @KenWalusala , @@GrantRujumba , Gumisiriza Michael , @Josephcyrian20 , Emmanuel Byaruhanga , @ClaudUTD , @BiingiKarim and many many others – were happy with my meeting with President Kagame.
1.That is how it should be. There are no objective grounds why Rwanda and Uganda should not work closely together. The populations are very close, being part of the interlecustrine Bantu of this area and the interests are mutual.
The same applies to all the other Great Lakes area countries : Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, South Sudan, Congo – Kinshasa etc. The populations are Bantus, Nilotic, Nilo- Hamatic or Sudanic who moreover, speak Swahili. They are similar or people with historical or cultural linkages.
2. Inrahk1 On the other hand is not happy about the “poor economy” of Uganda and “dusty roads”. The facts @Inrahk1 are that the economy of Uganda today is $28 billion in size, having grown from $1.5b in 1986. This is a growth of 19 times (1,900%) in that period. In recent times the annual rates of growth went down a bit because of some mistakes committed by some of the leaders like the delay in building Bujagali dam.
The rate of growth used to be 8%-10%. On account of those mistakes, the rates of growth went down to 5%. In 2006, I put my foot down to ensure that priority is given to roads and electricity.
We now have an electricity surplus but we are fighting with the price of electricity which is high because of another mistake of using expensive money by some officials for Bujagali when it was, eventually, built.
The new dams have got cheaper electricity- Karuma will cost 4.8 American cents and Isimba 5 American cents. Without Govt subsidy, the electricity of Bujagali would have been 13 American cents. It is now 10 American cents but we are going to bring it down through the refinancing of Bujagali with cheaper money.
The price I am talking about is per unit of electricity, per kilowatt hour. Therefore, the economy of Uganda has not been poor in the last 30 years. The slowdown was for the reasons I have cited . There is also the problem of corruption which we are combating. Please join the fight.
As for “dusty roads” , @Inrahk1, be informed that the tarmac roads have grown from about 800kms which we had also to reconstruct to 4,257kms and with the roads in the pipeline will grow to 5,400 kms . Here below see some of those roads.

Entebbe Express Highway one of the projects built by government

By the way, the growth rates I am talking about do not yet factor in our oil and gas which will come on line in the next few years. With more and cheaper electricity , the modernised railway line, working with our neighbours Kenya and Tanzania and our oil and gas, Uganda’s economy will roar.
The rates of growth will be high per annum. Let us fight corruption.
Do not be mulyabyengendes (eating fruits that are already ripe without knowing how the process went on). Learn how to struggle and look for ever green fields, well maintained , they will support wealth creation. When I bought Rwakitura in 1967 or Kisozi in 1990, there were not even the dusty roads in the area. But there was wealth.
3. Tom- Jones Is concerned with my bandaged right – hand. I am, since 1976, an amateur Karate practitioner. Those exercises help in fitness even when I come from office at midnight. I do the exercises , once in a while. I sprained my wrist. It is healing. The Karate skills were part of the unarmed ones that are acquired in the security forces even today.
4. Edgars Gezane, Being in power for a long time is because Ugandans elect me (1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016) . They know why they elect me. However, it could also help you if you took the trouble to know the substance of the competing programmes of the different political parties, in Uganda and in the world.
The NRM believes in four principles: Patriotism (anti-sectarianism), Pan- Africanism (e.g. believing in East Africa and Africa ), Socio -economic transformation and democracy. Those principles are in order to address the strategic goals of Africa from 1900 when the whole of Africa had been colonized by Western Countries. Why was Africa colonized after the almost 400 years of bleeding with the slave trade? It was on account of internal weaknesses ( mainly difficult geography and consequent political fragmentation into small kingdoms and chiefdoms). It was our strong genes that enabled us to survive the 500 years of the slave trade and colonialism. Other peoples that were colonized did not survive. They perished.
Did you hear about the Red Indians of America , or the Aztecs of Mexico or the Incas of Peru, the Carribes of the Caribbean, the Maori of New -Zealand or the Aborigines of Australia ? They perished and their lands were taken over by other peoples. By 1900, Africa that had gone through 400 years of slave trade was now totally colonized and because the traditional kings and chiefs had failed to defend our independence, new freedom fighters emerged; non-traditional, non-tribal and (therefore non-sectarian) and Pan – Africanist.
The National Resistance Movement/ NRA belongs to that tradition. We started taking on our share in the 1960s as part of the student Movement. Five strategic goals formed our prescription for freedom, strengthening ourselves and immunizing Africa against any other threats to our survival as African Peoples and our sovereignty. Three words @Edgars : “Survival” and “Sovereignty” through “Strengthening”.
Why do I agree to offer myself for electoratal competition? It is because 3 of the 5 strategic goals are not yet achieved ; nor are the two (political integration and heritage) even irreversibly committed to. The one of economic integration is, at least , on course. That is why we are determined to keep pushing , all of us (young and old ) that are like -minded as long as the Ugandans give us the mandate to do so through the regular elections.
Do I personally benefit materially from being in leadership ? Not at all. In the last 58 years, our resistance activities have been engaged in either no pay for ourselves (1965- 1986) or for very little pay. Therefore, those who say that we are in leadership for material gains are liars.
5. Francis Babu I noted your comment. I am sure our brothers know what is best for their country.
6. Don Congratulations on your PHD in Ethics. Contact Hon. Muruli Mukasa. We need people of integrity to get rid of corruption in immigration , police etc. Qualifications are one thing; but integrity is another.
7. Innocent Karangwa, Gatera John, Nuwamanya Junior , Ruhweza Emmanuel and others. It is good that you are happy about the [Kagame] meeting.

Museveni meeting Kagame on March 25 at State House Entebbe

8. Sam Stephen, The taxes the Uganda Govt raises are never on inputs into production e.g. agricultural machinery, raw -materials etc. We tax to mainly work on Seven areas since 2006. These are: Defence and Security; the roads; the electricity; the Schools; health centres; and the ICT back bone. Recently, we added water for production (irrigation).
9. Andrew Adimola Are you a son of our elder , the late Mzee Adimola? Kopango. Tie maber ? I welcome your comment. However, Uganda cannot thrive alone. Young people ,you need to realize the importance of the political and economic integration of Africa. The USA is great because it is a land area of 3million Sq. Miles and 320 million people ; China , 3 million sq. Miles and 1.3bn people; Russia, a land of 5 million sq. Miles and 150million people; India, a land of 1 million sq. Miles and 1.3bn people.
Africa is in danger if it continues with political fragmentation. I welcome the spirit of the African leaders in Addis Ababa and Kigali recently. Young people, wake up. Stop too much pleasure hunting, drugs, aping foreign cultures of decadence. Work for the greatness of Africa.
10. Kevin Oliya wants H.E Paul Kagame and myself to go home. We should be like Kenya where leaders serve for only 10 years. I have already answered that logic. I salute our Kenyan brothers for their system.
11. Ohide Otome, Says that Museveni drives to Entebbe every morning. That is true. What is the problem? He says nothing has changed in years. That is total dishonesty. Kampala- Entebbe- Kyengera- Buddo – Nabbingo- Mukono -Matugga -Nansana – Buloba etc are now belts of continuous built area.
It is actually a huge linked metropolis . This is all during the NRM time. 1986, the last built area from Kampala was Najanankumbi , with a few buildings . Lubowa Estate was a coffee plantation. The rest was all bush up to the few shops at Abayita. Yes, there is economic divide because 68% of the homesteads in Agriculture are in subsistence farming (growing food for only eating) and no commercial activities.
12. Jovia Stagia I will ask President Kagame next time when I meet him how he built Rwanda so fast. However, as I communicated earlier, Uganda is unstoppable now that we have the basics e.g. electricity that we struggle so hard to put in place.
13. Kabbiazi Muchu The Ethiopians will manage their affairs.
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