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Wed. May 22nd, 2024

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Over the weekend, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni celebrated his 70th birthday but his opponents have criticized him for not mentioning at the occasion that he was to step aside and someone else is elected in 2016.

One of the opposition politicians, Yowasi Oketto said,”We congratulate him for making 70 years, but we expected him to mention at the birthday party that he has done enough for the country and will not contest during 2016 elections.”

However all indications show that Museveni is warming up to stand for presidency in 2016.

Presidential press secretary, Tamale Mirundi during a radio talk show said, “Museveni is our party’s flagbearer because he is the best player in our team.”

A statement released by state house yesterday said, “President Yoweri Museveni has today celebrated his 70th birthday, exalting family life and urging young people, his children and grandchildren not to squander theirs.”

“My young people, my children and grandchildren, what you need is to look after your health. Don’t squander it by taking alcohol, smoking and umalaya. If your health is good, you can do a lot of things. I don’t know what I would be if I did all that,” said Museveni.

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The jovial President paid tribute to his wife Janet Museveni for raising great children and for building the family. “When we got married, they were turbulent times, I didn’t look after the children, it was Janet. She was very strict, she did all the work and am very grateful to her. The Banyankole say that when a man becomes of age he has to kwombeka (building a home). She built our home. Okwombeka now means getting an education, after get a wife, then children and after that wealth. Janet has helped me do all this,” he said.

At a low key ceremony organized by the children and attended mainly by close family, the President and his family first attended a thanksgiving service led by Rev. Emmanuel Katamunanwire from Nshwere C.O.U and later hosted his guests to a family lunch where he shared warm thoughts with his children about family.

“Make sure you have families. Life without family is meaningless. I hear some people like it that way but this undermines the purpose of life. I get a lot of happiness and purpose from my family. It is eternity, you pass on the torch. It is a part of eternity to have children,” he said, adding that they must also work for wealth. This however, he said cannot happen if you don’t love and fear God.

The President urged his children to help each other always and not to allow another person to suffer if it is within their means to help them.”Don’t be selfish, help each other and don’t let people divide you. When you do that, God does your work for you. I have not done my work for my family, I have been working for Uganda and for Africa and most of my work has been done by God. I hope many of you will reach this age and surpass it,” he said.

While paying tribute to his late parents Amos Kaguta and Esteri Kokundeka for raising and educating him, Museveni said that he is glad for the life that God has given him. “Am grateful to my parents for raising and educating me, it gave me a very rare opportunity for me to do what I have done,” he said.

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President Museveni who said that he was born approximately on September 15th, 1944 said there were no hospital records of his birth but from accounts from his mother Esteri who said he was born three months after a massive cattle vaccination which he put in September and an old woman who said he was born when the old woman was harvesting Omugobe (cow peas leaves) that are usually harvested in September, he decided to be diplomatic and put his actual date on September 15, 1944.

“I may not tell you the exact date, that am not sure, but certainly am not in danger of not knowing the season,” he said. The First Lady and Minister of Karamoja Affairs Hon. Janet Museveni said there is need to really praise and thank God for the life of Museveni saying like the biblical Gideon, he has taken him through challenging times and sought him out to do a multitude of things for the country.

“Gods goodness has lifted this man and used him to do a multitude of things. We don’t take anything for granted. You have blessed us with wonderful children and grandchildren and we thank God,” she said.

Museveni’s 1st born son , Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba who spoke on behalf of the children thanked God for the 70 years he has given his father and the 28 years they have lived as a family saying for many years they all lived apart.

“We thank Mzee for what he has done for us as a father and holding the family together despite busy schedule as a statesman. We ask God to protect you. For many years, we thought we might not live to see this day due to a lot of problems and trials,” he said.

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