Kampala. President Museveni yesterday defended his long stay in power and campaign to extend his 30-year presidency for another five years, saying he needs to help East African countries achieve a federation.
“I am here to see whether we can help you get the East African federation so that we have a critical mass of strength that can guarantee your future, our future and our children’s future. But not talking about presidency,” Mr Museveni said.
Appearing on a live broadcast on the Buganda Kingdom-owned radio station, Central Broadcasting Services (CBS), yesterday morning, Mr Museveni described the East African Federation as a centre of gravity to protect blacks and that his role is to ensure that blacks embrace unity.
“I am not a fanatic of presidency. If you want to survive, you blacks, you must work for African unity and for pan-Africanism. How will you survive against Britain, China and India? These are becoming superpowers,” the President, who was speaking via a live link from Nakasero State Lodge in Kampala, said.
He said a single sovereign state of East Africa, which will include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, is his target and must be achieved.
The debate of the East African Federation was revived in 1999 when a treaty for its re-establishment was signed, following an earlier collapse in 1977.
“The other time, we almost succeeded in forming the East African Federation, Mzee Moi was committed, Mzee Kabaki was committed, Uhuru is committed, we have been having some issues with Tanzanians but even (former president Jakaya) Kikwete had agreed that we move. This is the number one target that we should aim at,” said Mr Museveni.
The President reiterated that he is wealthy and does not need to be in power to survive. “You are just here with tribalism, with religion, falling down on your knees instead of standing up so that’s why I am here to see whether I can help you and escort you…” he added.
In the past, President Museveni has given various reasons to justify his long stay in power. While in Masaka last year, he said in Luganda that those saying “agende” (he should retire from politics) “bagala mafuta gange (are after my oil).” In January last year while in Kabale, he said he cannot leave power to the Opposition whom he equated to wolves looking to tear Uganda apart.