Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he needs more time to develop the country as he looks to enter a fourth decade in power, urging voters to re-elect the “old man.”
As a younger man he said leaders who “overstayed” in power were the root of Africa’s problems, but 30 years later he is still in charge and hoping to win a fifth term in elections next month.
“Those who say, ‘let him go, let him go’, they need to know that this is not the right time,” Museveni said at an election rally in the western Ntungamo district on Saturday, according to reports in the Daily Monitor newspaper on Sunday.
“This old man who has saved the country, how do you want him to go? How can I go out of a banana plantation I have planted that has started bearing fruits?”
Seven opposition candidates are vying to end Museveni’s 30-year rule in the February 18 poll.
“We must concentrate on development, my time will come and I will go,” he added, according to the Monitor.
Museveni, who is thought to be at least 71 years old, successfully changed the constitution in 2005 abolishing a two-term limit.
Museveni, in power since 1986, will face his stiffest opposition from Kizza Besigye, a three-time loser for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ruling party stalwart now running for the new Go-Forward party.
Mbabazi has said if he wins he would restore term limits to the presidency.
“When he (Museveni) told me that he will not retire and requested me to support his continuity, I said ‘no’ and here I am,” Mbabazi said at a rally on Saturday, according to the state-backed New Vision newspaper.
“In the first 100 days of my presidency, we shall restore term limits in the constitution – and we will lay everything possible to make sure that in the first five years we bring whatever it takes to be done to prepare the young generation to take over power in Uganda.”