Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said in his opinion a limited presidential term was bad for African democracies.
The 73-year-old who is one of Africa’s longest serving presidents averred that African leaders must be focused on political integration, which he says was a core component of the liberation struggle.
Museveni was speaking at a lecture held at Uganda’s Makerere University on Friday. The Nelson Mandela Commemorative Lecture under the theme: ‘Nelson Mandela, the legend: lesson for the youth.’
Some people think being in government for a short while is a good thing, I think it is a bad thing because you don’t have time - [only] 5 years. We did not conclude.
He said, the anti-apartheid hero retired from being president before he had time to tackle issues of the continent’s political and economic integration.
“The liberation movement has to address the issue of economic integration as a strategic goal, otherwise how will you ensure the prosperity of the people? When Mzee Mandela came from jail, I talked to him about this, we talked but he did not have enough time.
“Mzee Mandela did not have enough time because when he came from jail, he was in government for a short while. Some people think being in government for a short while is a good thing, I think it is a bad thing because you don’t have time – [only] 5 years. We did not conclude”, he said.
Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994. In 1999, he handed over power to his deputy, Thabo Mbeki.
Museveni on his part came to power in 1986 and has been in charge since. He won polls in February last year and his current tenure runs till 2021.
In June this year, he responded to talk of having ruled for ‘too long’ saying it also afforded him lots of experience.
“Being president for a very long time is not a bad thing. That is why I am experienced … Even if you woke me up at night, I will tell you what is happening,” he said off the script in response to opposition rants.
“If you want to be a leader, you should avoid prejudice because prejudice can make you live with envy; you will end up getting high blood pressure,” he told members of parliament in an address.
The age limit for a candidate to stand for president is currently 75. Museveni, who is now 73, will be two years older than the limit by 2021 when the next presidential election is due. There is a strong position that laws will be amended to allow him to run. Talk around that has led to opposition protests.