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Museveni: Overstaying in Power is Not Bad


As has been the norm, opposition MPs on Tuesday heckled President Yoweri Museveni as he delivered his state of the nation address in Kampala.

The MPs, including Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), William Nzoghu (Busongora North), Odonga Otto (Aruu South) and Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality), would dispute almost what Museveni said, and suggested that he had stayed longer in power and needed to announce his retirement in his address.

In response, Museveni addressed his hecklers and told them that overstaying in power was not necessarily a bad thing, arguing that it came with valuable experience.

Museveni had not prepared to address the issue of his retirement – at least judging by his scripted three-hour address.

He thus came up with an unscripted response: “Being president for a very long time is not a bad thing. That is why I am experienced…. Even if you woke me up at night, I will tell you what is happening.”

Museveni is treading with caution on the question of his retirement. He is currently 72 and the Constitution bars anyone from vying for presidency beyond the age of 75.

Rumours in the corridors of power suggest that ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs could amend the constitution to remove the age limit clause using their tyranny of numbers.

And there is already a precedent. In 2005, MPs scrapped the term limit clause to allow Museveni contest again.

Even when Museveni moved on the next point in his address, the MPs were not done heckling Uganda’s three-decade ruler, disputing some of the contents of his address and arguments. When Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had failed to calm down the opposition hecklers, Museveni chose to give them counsel.

He told them prejudice would cause them blood pressure.

“If you want to be a leader, you should avoid prejudice because prejudice can make you live with envy; you will end up getting high blood pressure,” the president said to ward off hecklers.

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