President Yoweri Museveni has said his return to presidency at the close of his fifth term in 2021 will be up to Ugandans.
The president was speaking to a Germany website Spiegel during his visit to Berlin recently.
Museveni’s Senior Press Secretary Don Wanyama confirmed to Insider that the president did carry out an interview with the said media house.
Spiegel asked Museveni: “If you want to run for election again, the constitution will need to be changed to extend the age limit for presidents to 75 years. Will that happen?”
Museveni replied: “The Ugandans shall decide.”
There have been speculations from critics who claim Museveni appointed “a non-performing” cabinet that will back his return in 2021.
“Museveni is going to run again in 2021. This new Cabinet is the latest step in the journey towards the next election,” said Fred Mukasa Mbidde, a member of the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly.
David Mushabe, an analyst and lawyer, predicted that Members of Parliament may once again pocket Shs5m bribe to lift presidential age limit as they did years ago.
“There is magic in the Shs5m. Before term limits were lifted, MPs were handed Shs5m. The same Shs5m has resurfaced,” Mushabe said.
However, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo dismissed the term limits talk saying the ruling party was not even considering such a debate.
Museveni on his critics
Spiegel reminded Museveni that as a young politician, he castigated autocratic African leaders who ruled for their entire lives. “When you came to power, you changed the constitution so you could stay in office longer. It has been 30 years now. When will you leave?”
In response, Museveni said his critics always forget to mention that he was democratically elected, the others were not.
“Everyone in Uganda can challenge me, everyone can vote, the elections are free. Not many countries have achieved what we did. One third of the seats in parliament are reserved for women, five seats for youth, five for workers, five for the disabled and 10 for the army. How many democracies with such a record do you know?”
Asked on Kizza Besigye arrest, Museveni said Ugandan laws and institutions are excellent, but the population is not yet ready.
“They must develop their views and need to be provided with the right information. We now also have private broadcasters and many are very critical of me, hostile even, yet they operate freely.”
Asked if he was not afraid of an African rebellion similar to the Arab Spring, Museveni said it was unlikely that Uganda will face a chaotic scenario similar to that in Syria or “other places”.