Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni begins six-day trek through jungle

Posted by Agence France-Presse in Kampala | 5 January 2020 | 789 times

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The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, began a six-day march through the jungle on Saturday to retrace the steps of his guerrilla forces when they seized power three decades ago

Museveni is one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. He seized power in 1986 after taking part in rebellions to end the rule of Idi Amin and Milton Obote, and is expected to seek a sixth term in office in elections due in 2021. Critics dismissed the march as an attempt to rally support ahead of the poll.

Museveni began what will be a 120-mile (195-kilometre) walk from Galamba, north of Kampala, to Birembo, south of the capital where his rebel army faced one of its toughest battles in the fight to overthrow Obote.

“The great trek started today and will last six days. This is a journey that the president is leading, a journey through the past to appreciate the present,” Museveni’s senior press secretary, Don Wanyama, said.

“The journey will take a week through the jungle, a route the liberators led by Museveni took to liberate the country.”

Pop star turned Uganda’s leading opposition figure Bobi Wine.
 Pop star turned Uganda’s leading opposition figure Bobi Wine criticised the trek as a waste of taxpayers’ money. Photograph: Guillem Sartorio/AFP via Getty Images

The walk comes a month after the president led an anti-corruption walk through the capital in a move derided by critics who said the corruption took place under his government.

Museveni is facing an election challenge from Bobi Wine, a pop star turned leading opposition politician who appeals to a youthful population that has only ever known one president.

The trek “is part of the wasteful ventures government is taking aimed at boosting his dwindling support among Ugandans”, Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said.

“My advice is rather than spending taxpayers’ money on such trips, Museveni should know time is up for him to leave power. Time for hoodwinking peasants has passed him. The peasants and everyone in Uganda are demanding change and no less,” he said.

Asuman Basalirwa, an MP from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, criticised the trek as a campaigning tool. “Ugandans deserve better than a president walking through a jungle. Time spent should be used for other important issues affecting the country, especially how he plans to hand over power,” he said.

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