Putin, other leaders congratulate Museveni on re-election

President Museveni won a sixth term in office in the January 14 election. PHOTO/FILE

The president of Russia, Mr Vladimir Putin, and the Chinese government have congratulated President Museveni upon re-election in last Thursday’s presidential polls that his closest challenger Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bibi Wine, has vowed to contest in court.

In a brief statement, President Putin said: “Russia and Uganda have a traditionally friendly relationship. I hope your activities as the Head of State will further facilitate the development of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various areas.”

“I wish you success in your work, sound health and well-being,” Mr Putin signed off.

Separately, at a press briefing yesterday in Beijing, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Affairs ministry, Hua Chunying, described Uganda as an “important cooperative partner in East Africa” and the two countries “share a deep, traditional friendship and fruitful cooperation outcomes that benefit both peoples.”

“China congratulates President Museveni on his re-election in the recent presidential election,” Ms Chunying said. 

“President Museveni made important contributions to China-Uganda relations. We believe that under his leadership, Uganda will achieve new, greater progress in national development, and the China-Uganda comprehensive cooperative partnership will reach new heights.”

President Museveni maintains cordial relations with Beijing and Moscow as the West—United States and the European Union—have become bothersome to his continued stay in power, now inching to 40 years.

In October 2019, Mr Museveni was among the few African leaders invited for the first ever Russia-Africa summit during which President Putin made case to grow trade between the two sides to $40b (Shs147 trillion) in the next few years from the current $20b (Shs73b).

Four months earlier, the President was in Beijing for the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) ministerial summit, a follow up to the 2018 FOCAC during which Beijing offered $60b (about Shs224 trillion) in new funding for friendly African countries.

Other leaders who have publically congratulated Mr Museveni after being elected for a sixth term include Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli, President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of Kenya, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, and Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi, who shared a congratulatory messages at the weekend.

On Sunday, the US State Department lampooned last week’s elections and implored government to “hold accountable members of the security forces responsible for violence and abuses” during the two months of campaigns. 

“We reiterate our intention to pursue action against those responsible for the undermining of democracy and human rights in Uganda,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.