A total of 21 heads of state and government have confirmed attendance of President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony next week, the Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo has said.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Uganda Media Centre, Mbayo didn’t divulge details of the president but said more confirmations are expected.
“His Excellency the President has extended invitations to 42 heads of state both from Africa and the rest of the world, and so far 21 have confirmed attendance,” Mbayo said.
The Nile Post last month, quoting deep throat sources, exclusively reported that a total of 14 heads of state including Uhuru Kenyatta(Kenya), Samia Suluhu Hassan(Tanzania) Cyril Ramaphosa(South Africa), Salva Kiir(South Sudan), Paul Kagame(Rwanda), Felix Tshisekedi(DRC), Teodoro Obiang Nguema(Equatorial Guinea), Emmerson Mnangagwa(Zimbabwe) and Edgar Lungu(Zambia) had been invited for President Museveni’s inauguration ceremony.
Deceased Chadian President Idriss Déby, who was killed in clashes with rebels was also expected to attend the ceremony as well as singer Akon.
On Tuesday, Mbayo noted that because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of guests has been reduced to only 4042 people to ensure social distancing during the swearing-in ceremony at the Kololo Independence grounds.
“The function is therefore strictly by invite. The rest of Ugandans will watch the proceedings on all our national television and radio stations.
The minister said 17 delegates from each district, newly elected MPs, former presidential candidates in the January 14 polls,, Ministers, NRM CEC members, EALA MPs, a few members of the business community, a few religious leaders, a few cultural leaders, and half the list of the normal VIPs have been invited to attend the May 12 swearing-in fete.
According to Mbayo, government has put in place specific standard operating procedures to be followed by all invited guests at the ceremony at Kololo next week.
“All invited guests will undergo Covid-19 tests before attending the function and all procedures of undertaking those tests will be communicated to them by the invitation committee that has been put in place. Those that are coming in from outside Uganda will also be catered for to observe SOPs both in terms of transport and accommodation,” Mbayo added.
The Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga on Monday told journalists that security expects disruptions from opposition politicians but warned they are ready to face them.
“There are no specific threats directed towards the swearing-in ceremony although we anticipate disruptive activities by disgruntled politicians and supporters whom we anticipate will want to disrupt the process through demonstrations and use of petrol bombs,” Enanga said.
“Our joint intelligence team is anticipating many other disruptive activities like burning tyres, blocking roads and holding demonstrations but we are on top of this game. We are tasked to ensure that the ceremony takes place in a safe environment and we are confident it will proceed in a secure manner because it is an activity we have planned for in our security master plan against any threats. We have counter-response plans for any vulnerability.”
The army spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso had earlier re-echoed the same sentiments about groups of people planning to disrupt the inauguration ceremony.
“These people think they can achieve their objectives through different ways and means. Intelligence has picked information to this effect. Any person who stands in the path of peace and stability of this country becomes an enemy of the country and shall therefore be dealt with decisively, “Byekwaso said.