Ugandan police open fire on crowd as Nigerian leader’s car stoned

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KAMPALA, UGANDA—Ugandan police shot at a crowd in the capital Kampala after it attacked a car carrying Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan who had attended President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration, a government spokesman said.

At least one person was killed in the incident.

“The car belonging to Goodluck Jonathan was stoned by mobs,” said Fred Opolot, director of the government media centre. “The security shot around the area, and one person was shot dead.”

The 25-year leader was sworn in to a fourth term.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye over the last month has been leading “walk to work” protests over the rising cost of food and fuel. Besigye, whom Museveni defeated in his February re-election win, said the marches are also to protest government corruption.

Those marches have been the most serious unrest in sub-Saharan Africa since protests swept out leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. Museveni says he will not be swept from office by Egypt-style protests.

A 21-gun salute rang out before a crowd of thousands who watched the country’s chief justice administer an oath to Museveni. Leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe attended the ceremony.

Museveni appeared to make reference to Besigye in a speech, saying that opponents wanted to cause chaos but that their “disruptive schemes” will be defeated.

Museveni said the country would begin pumping oil within three years, and that Uganda would no longer need to rely on imports.

He also sought to highlight the country’s progress in the last 25 years, saying that 8 million primary students are in school today compared with 2.5 million in 1986. He also promised to fight corruption.

Museveni also indulged in a moment of self-congratulations, saying: “I thank the Ugandans for overwhelmingly voting for me with 68.3 per cent.”

Although official returns showed Museveni winning that amount, Besigye says the results were falsified, and that Museveni and Besigye both received a bit under 50 per cent of the vote, an outcome that would have required a runoff.

Uganda has seen sharp spikes in food and fuel prices the last several months, making car or bus travel unaffordable for many. Anger over the increases has fuelled Besigye’s protests, and security forces have clashed with protesters around the country. Human Rights Watch says government forces have shot and killed nine people during crackdowns on protests.

Museveni, an ex-rebel commander who seized power at the head of a guerrilla army in 1986, once criticized African rulers who clung to power. In 2001 he promised to retire from politics despite lifting a two-term limit on the presidency so he could run again in 2006. But now Museveni says he is fostering peace, stability and growth.

African strongmen of old are under increasing pressure. Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya since 1969, is battling attacks from Libyan rebels and NATO. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, who attended Thursday’s inauguration, has been in power since 1980. He has refused to accept a 2008 election defeat.

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