Yoweri Museveni, re-elected in January for a sixth term, was sworn in on Wednesday at a ceremony in the capital Kampala, which was placed under heavy security to avoid any demonstrations by the opposition, which is contesting his election.
According to the official results, Mr. Museveni obtained 58% of the votes during the January 14 elections, denounced as a “masquerade” by his main opponent Bobi Wine, who received 35% of the votes.
A large security detail was set up for the ceremony, which was attended by eleven African heads of state (Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Burundi, DRC, Ghana, South Sudan, Guinea and Namibia), as well as Chinese and Russian representatives, in order to avoid disturbances from the opposition.
The main opposition leaders, Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye, said their homes had been surrounded by armed police and military.
“My house has been besieged by the army and police and I am not allowed to leave the house,” Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told AFP.
“The dictator Museveni is sworn in, well aware that he stole the elections and deprived Ugandans of their rights and he is afraid of people who oppose this ceremonial sham,” he added, assuring: “We will continue the struggle to dislodge him from power by peaceful means and it will come soon.”
Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga described the presence of police around the residences of Mr. Wine and Mr. Besigye as “a normal security deployment for VIPs.
“There were intelligence reports that some people wanted to disrupt the swearing-in ceremony and we took precautions to ensure the safety of some leaders, including opposition leaders Bobi Wine and Besigye,” he said.
“There was also an attempt by Bobi Wine to hold a parallel swearing-in ceremony, but he should be warned that this is illegal (…) and the police will not allow him to do so,” the police spokesman added.
The presidential election campaign was marked by violence and the muzzling of opposition candidates, who were prevented from holding rallies in the name of the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.
In November, at least 54 people were killed by police in violence sparked by yet another arrest of Mr. Wine, who has been repeatedly apprehended since 2018.
The opposition claims that since the election, security forces have abducted several of his supporters. After initially denying this, President Museveni and members of the government admitted that citizens accused of plotting against the state were being held by the military and security agencies.