Heavy security for Museveni in Zimbabwe

 Heavy security for Museveni in Zimbabwe
Published: 27 April 2019
GOVERNMENT scaled up security to protect visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday, inconveniencing scores of people going about their own business in Harare's central business district.

Museveni, who touched down at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on Thursday evening, officially opened the 60th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday.

However, even hours before he arrived in the country, police and other State security officials had already cordoned off a local hotel, where the Ugandan leader was to stay before proceeding to Bulawayo for the ZITF official opening.

Pedestrians and motorists were barred from using Third Street, amid allegations of harassment of some members of the public by State security agents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba yesterday apologised for the 'temporary inconvenience' on members of the public, following the blockade.

'There is what we call threat assessment and depending on the assessment that we would have carried out, if there is a high threat, we scale up security. It was a temporary inconvenience. We apologise but sometimes it is unavoidable, especially when dealing with the security of VVIPs,' Charamba said.

This comes after questions were raised over the nature of security given to the Ugandan leader, considering that recently South African President Cyril Ramaphosa — who was staying at the same hotel — was not given such high security.

There were, however, fears that Museveni could be met by demonstrations from political activists over his continued bid to silence opposition members in his country.

'I leave for a two days' working visit to Zimbabwe on the invitation of H.E Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. While there, I will officiate at the 60th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo on Friday,' Museveni wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter, before he left for Zimbabwe.

Museveni, who was once hailed as a freedom fighter and liberator by Ugandans and by the Western world as a new breed of African democrats, has turned into an autocratic leader, bent on silencing the opposition and suppressing the media in order to maintain a firm grip on power since his ascension to power through a coup in the East African country in 1986.

Mnangagwa recently came under immense attack from members of the public for inviting the Ugandan president despite his alleged dictatorial tendencies.

The trade fair, which started on Tuesday, is being held under the theme, 'Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment' and ends today.

The fair saw Germany and Belarus participating along with 12 other countries, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Zambia.

Museveni has been described both in and outside Uganda as a leader in pursuit of selfish interests and does not tolerate divergent views — especially from the opposition and civil rights groups.

The same allegations have been raised against Mnangagwa since taking over from Mugabe in 2017 with the help of the military.

Observers suggested that Museveni and Mnangagwa have much more in common than meets the eye, pointing out that they both preside over regimes that are authoritarian in nature.

For many Ugandans, Museveni will go down the books of history as a freedom fighter who betrayed his people. Although the Ugandan Constitution in 1995 had put a two-term limit to the presidential term, the country's constitutional court last year removed the age limit of 75 years for the country's leader, paving the way for Museveni to rule the East African country for life.

Like Mnangagwa locally, Museveni is accused of knowing what needs to be done but still chooses to look the other way amid rampant corruption in virtually all government institutions, a judiciary that has lost its sanctity and police brutality is at its peak as security forces are unleashed on peaceful demonstrations as well as concentration on defence spending while hospitals still lack beds and necessary drugs.

'Pres (president) Museveni whose son is an army general … and wife Education minister arrives in Zimbabwe to open the ZITF in Bulawayo; what do we learn from such retrogressive, archaic, anachronistic and stone age leaders who practice familial politics?' political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya queried on Twitter.
- dailynews
Tags: Museveni,


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