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Ugandan Sworn in for Third Term

  • Pearse Lynch

Torrential rain did little to dispel the carnival atmosphere among thousands of supporters of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who was sworn in for a third term Thursday in Kampala's Kololo Independence Square. Dressed in the bright yellow colors of the National Resistance Movement, the crowd greeted the arrival of the president with tumultuous adulation.

With his wife, Janet, herself a newly elected member of parliament, at his side, Mr. Museveni made a grand entrance waving to the crowd from a black BMW SUV. He then took center stage for his third inauguration as president.

"I, President Yoweri Museveni, swear in the name of almighty God that I will be faithful and bear full allegiance to the Republic of Uganda, and that I will preserve, protect and defend the constitution, so help me God," he said.

His critics say that it was only because of a change in the constitution, that Mr. Museveni's party rushed through last July, that he is allowed to serve a third term.

And leaders of the Forum for Democratic Change, Uganda's opposition party, say it was only because of fraud in the February elections that Mr. Museveni won a third term. The opposition, citing its claims of fraud, boycotted the inauguration.

But many of Africa's most prominent leaders attended the ceremony, including Presidents Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Omar Guelleh from Djibouti, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Abdullahi Yusuf of Somalia, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Mugabe has many critics among Western leaders, but he was warmly received by the collective dignitaries as he took his seat next to Benjamin Odoki, Uganda's chief justice.

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