Yoweri Museveni has been sworn in as Uganda President for a sixth term in a ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and other African heads of state.
President Kenyatta, who is the current East African Community (EAC), arrived in Uganda on Wednesday morning.
He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development).
According to State House Uganda, six African presidents confirmed they would attend the inauguration, while another six said they would be represented.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pover 4,000 guests were expected to gather for the outdoor ceremony.
Museveni and his National Resistance Movement party were declared winner of the January 14 elections with 58.6% of the vote.
Wine and his National Unity Platform, which came in second with 34%, however say the vote was rigged.
Ugandan security operations were ramped up around the capital ahead of the inauguration.
This included tight security around the home of opposition leader Bobi Wine, who accused the government of fraud in January’s election.
The security measures seem to be a warning to the opposition from authorities.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the National Unity Platform party spokesperson, said Wine’s house was heavily surrounded by security.
“In fact, today they deployed some more [security forces]. We don’t know whether their intention is to hold him under house arrest. Honorable Kyagulanyi has not written to them to ask for security. Today, at our party headquarters in Kamwokya, the military sent war tankers (tanks). But for us, all this is panic. Panic by Mr. Museveni and his regime, because they are afraid of Ugandans. Simply because they know they stole the victory of Ugandans,” Ssenyonyi said.
There was a beehive of activity for security personnel with Kampala streets guarded by foot patrols of soldiers, rooftop snipers, artillery pieces, armored vehicles and riot police.
While ordinary Ugandans are continuing their normal business, 55-year-old Henry Kisule, a casual laborer, moving on his bicycle says there’s nothing exciting about the inauguration.
He said when Museveni took power in 1986, he was completing his primary education. He has now lived under Museveni for 35 years, and said it is time for change.
“The years he’s been in power are so many. Do we want to see him collapse? He should have ended with the fifth term. And even the little happiness that we had, because the children he would have propelled into power, he’s just torturing them. Things aren’t good, we are not happy,” Kisule said.