NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13- Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was sworn in Wednesday for his sixth term as president, as police surrounded the home of his main opposition rival who decried the inauguration as a “sham”.
The 76-year-old, wearing a dark blue suit and his trademark wide-brimmed safari hat, promised to “pay true allegiance” to the East African country he has ruled nonstop since taking power as a rebel leader in 1986.
In his inauguration speech, Museveni took a swipe at the West, saying they dont care about Africans.
He said Africans “wherever you are” across the world to focus on liberating themselves economically.
Museveni, who won re-election in January despite widespread reports of irregularities, took the oath of office at a ceremony in Kampala broadcast on national television and attended by several African heads of state and other foreign dignitaries.
The Ugandan President narrated the history of the African and Black man, saying due to lack of an economic powerhouse, they have remained looked down upon in all parts of the world.
To enhance this, he said Africa should have a Common Market where quality goods that can be accepted across continental and international market.
“I am glad we are working on continental free trade area, for the common market of the whole of Africa and on the confederation of East Africa as the first step to the East African political federation. In East Africa, we should not repeat the mistakes of 1963 when some actors made us miss our objective of a political federation,” he said.
He was categorical that as leader, is not pro-west or pro East, saying his first an African.
“When you see black people, they are suffering. In Africa, they are suffering, in USA, they are suffering, in Brazil, they are suffering…it is partly on account of lacking this centre of gravity. Nobody cares about Africans,” the Ugandan President declared.
His victory in January was overshadowed by the bloodiest pre-election crackdown in years, with opposition candidates forcibly prevented from campaigning and dozens of protesters killed by security forces.
Opposition leader Bobi Wine, who came second to Museveni in the ballot but declared the vote rigged, said police and soldiers had “besieged” his home on the outskirts of Kampala and prevented him from leaving.
“Dictator Museveni is swearing in well aware he stole the elections and disenfranchised Ugandans and he is scared of people opposing the sham ceremony,” the 39-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker told AFP.
“Even if he has sworn in, we will continue the struggle to dislodge him from power through peaceful means and this will come soon.”
Kizza Besigye, an opposition veteran who ran and lost against Museveni in four disputed and often violent presidential elections, was also placed under effective house arrest.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga described the measures as “normal” precautions taken to protect Wine and Besigye.
“There was intelligence reports that some people wanted to cause disruptions during the swearing-in ceremony and we took precaution to provide security for some leaders, including the opposition leaders including Bobi Wine and Besigye,” he said.
“This is normal security deployment for VIPs.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta was among dozens of dignitaries, including regional heads of state, who attended the inauguration.
On insecurity, Museveni equally blamed the West, saying it is time for the African Union to unite and offer home-based solutions.
“Bypassing, the African Union, it is not acceptable when it comes to strategic African issues,” he asserted.