Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has finally fired back at US president, Barack Obama, over term limits talk.
While visiting Kenya and Ethiopia last month, Obama talked about good governance and democracy but was keen on African leaders who over stay in power.
At a joint press conference with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Museveni was asked for his thoughts on President Obama’s comments that heads of state should respect term limits.
Museveni who is running for a fifth term in 2016 general elections told press at State House Entebbe on Monday: “I’m not responsible for what Obama talks”.
He went on: “I don’t care, that’s none of my business.”
Museveni said he was in power because people vote him and because Uganda outlawed term limits.
“I’m responsible for what happens in Uganda. The US is the only country in the Western world which has term limits.”
“Every five years, when we have an election, Uganda is at a higher level. If I am in power elected by the people, that shows I’m doing the right thing.”
Museveni said he has just picked nomination forms and Ugandans will tell “you what they think of term limits”.
In June 2005, a total of 232 MPs voted in favour of the motion, 50 against and one abstained leading to the scrapping of term limits.
In a recent debate, MPs accused each other of taking bribes to remove term limits which they think should now be restored.
Museveni says he is following the constitution of Uganda which mandates him to stand as longer as people are still willing to vote for him.
This is what Obama said on leaders who overstay in power:
“I believe Africa’s progress will also depend on democracy, because Africans, like people everywhere, deserve the dignity of being in control of their own lives.”
“We all know what the ingredients of real democracy are. They include free and fair elections, but also freedom of speech and the press, freedom of assembly. These rights are universal. They’re written into African constitutions.”
“From Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, to Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, democracy has taken root. In Nigeria, more than 28 million voters bravely cast their ballots and power transferred as it should — peacefully.”
“Yet at this very moment, these same freedoms are denied to many Africans. And I have to proclaim, democracy is not just formal elections.”
“When journalists are put behind bars for doing their jobs, or activists are threatened as governments crack down on civil society — (applause) — then you may have democracy in name, but not in substance.”
“And I’m convinced that nations cannot realize the full promise of independence until they fully protect the rights of their people.”
“…if we truly believe that Africans are equal in dignity, then Africans have an equal right to freedoms that are universal — that’s a principle we all have to defend. (Applause.) And it’s not just a Western idea; it’s a human idea.”
“I have to also say that Africa’s democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end. (Applause.) Now, let me be honest with you — I do not understand this. (Laughter.) I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honour or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again. (Laughter and applause.) I can’t run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good President — I think if I ran I could win. (Laughter and applause.) But I can’t.”
“So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law. And no one person is above the law. Not even the President.”
“And I’ll be honest with you — I’m looking forward to life after being President.”
“The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. (Laughter.) Especially when they’ve got a lot of money.
“When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi.” (Applause.) And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.”
“And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. (Laughter.) If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.” (Applause.)
“You look at Nelson Mandela — Madiba, like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully.” (Applause.)
“And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions.” (Applause.)
“Nobody should be president for life.”
“And your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. (Applause.) I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. (Applause.) It will be good for yours, too, in some cases.”