Uganda President Museveni has told opposition parties that he is not about to leave power and they should stop thinking of a transition.
He spoke during an inter-party dialogue summit, which brings together leaders of parties represented in Parliament, in Kampala.
Mr Museveni, who said he enjoyed the dialogue, told his opponents that he will not think of relinquishing power until he is satisfied that the “prosperity and strategic security of Africa have been achieved”.
“I hear people like Mao talking about transition, how they would like to sit in the audience and see Museveni handing over power. That is the most important thing for him. I do not think that is the most important and it is good he is saying that,” Mr Museveni said on Thursday.
“So, the political class, instead of talking about the destiny of Africa, you are talking about petty things— elections, who becomes who. That is why I have said if I still have strength, I will continue,” he continued.
“This is my point of view: not to retire when the original issues of why Africa nearly perished have not been addressed. And you are just addressing small things— elections. The ones you are electing, you elect them to do what exactly? (sic) That is what you should answer. I have no other interest in politics because I am a cattle keeper.”
Mr Museveni, whose grip on power will hit 33 years on by January 26, 2019, was responding to a statement by Democratic Party president-general Norbert Mao
In his speech, Mr Mao had said that they dream of a day the strongman would go to Kololo Independence Grounds to witness the swearing-in of another person as president of Uganda and officially hand over power.
Mr Museveni told the leaders that if they are still thinking of him leaving State House soon, “they should better start dreaming of other alternatives”.
He said the reason he joined politics was to fight for prosperity and strategic security of Africa which suffered at the hands of colonialists.
The meeting was attended by Mr Museveni as chairman of the ruling NRM party and four opposition parties— Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) represented by party president Jimmy Akena, Mr Mao’s Democratic Party and the Justice Forum (Jeema) represented by its president, Mr Asuman Basalirwa.
The leaders were accompanied by delegates from their respective parties.
The biggest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), boycotted the summit and the seats for its party president, Mr Patrick Amuriat Oboi, and his delegation remained vacant throughout the proceedings.
The FDC pulled out of the dialogue, citing infringement on its rights of association by the Museveni regime.
The four items on the agenda for the summit, which was sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, were strengthening political parties to enhance their relevance and effectiveness; enacting constitutional and electoral law reforms to improve the functioning of Uganda’s multiparty system; promotion of inclusiveness in politics and, improving governance, human rights and observance of rule of law.
The party leaders first held cameral proceedings before coming out to address the public.