Uganda’s president falls in love with two things in a week: execution and Trump

Uganda’s president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has raised eyebrows this week with his startling affinity for arguably the most unpopular man in America, and then capital punishment.

He told legislators in the capital Kampala on Tuesday that he loves U.S. President Donald Trump for being frank about Africa. This follows an outcry over Trump’s reported statement calling African states and Haiti “shithole countries”.

“America has got one of the best presidents ever, Mr. Trump. I love Trump because he tells the Africans frankly … the Africans need to solve their problems, they need to be strong. In the world, you cannot survive if you are weak. It is the fault of the Africans that they are weak … why can’t we make Africa strong?” Museveni said to a laughing audience during the opening of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Museveni’s comments go against the African Union and several African countries’ statements calling on Trump to retract and apologise for the remark which he had denied ever saying.

73-year-old Museveni had earlier in the week said he plans to enforce the death penalty which has not been sanctioned in the past 13 years. His reason was that people are taking his “leniency as a Christian” to get away with crimes.

He emphasized his decision on Monday after criticisms from rights groups who have been fighting against the death penalty.

“I saw some NGOs opposing the death sentence. In a pre-industrial society like ours removing the death sentence is a recipe for chaos. We believe in the Law of Moses; an eye for an eye. I have been making the mistake of not sanctioning these death sentences, I am repenting,” he tweeted.

Some East African countries have not banned executions including Tanzania whose president John Magufuli stated last year that he cannot assent to an execution despite the death penalty being legal.

Only about 20 countries in Africa have abolished the death penalty with Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan still practicing executions. Tanzania last executed a convict in 1994.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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