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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005, 00:04 GMT
Uganda president to stand again
By Will Ross
BBC News, Kampala

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Museveni told supporters that he was ready to lead them
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he will stand for re-election in next March's polls.

Mr Museveni, who came to power 20 years ago, was due to step down but speculation had been rife for the past two years that he would stand again.

His announcement comes at the end of a week of riots and controversy surrounding the arrest of his main political rival.

Dr Kizza Besigye is in prison awaiting trial for treason and rape.

Protests

It came as no surprise at all when Mr Museveni announced that he would run for power in the forthcoming election.

Addressing thousands of delegates from his political party, he said he was confident of victory.

"When we win the presidential elections next year, you can hear I'm not using the word if, I'm saying when," he said.

After 20 years in power the Ugandan president was due to step down, however there was controversy when the constitution was amended this year to lift presidential term limits.

Kizza Besigye
Dr Besigye is a former Museveni ally

The international community had encouraged the Ugandan leader to step down and some had suggested a role in the United Nations.

He described this as an insult, adding: "I'm looking for a cause, not a job."

The government has dismissed the accusation that Dr Besigye's trial is politically motivated.

His arrest last Monday sparked off riots in Kampala, and on Wednesday heavily armed soldiers surrounded the high court in order to re-arrest some of Dr Besigye's co-accused who had just been freed on bail.

The move was described by Uganda's principal judge as "utterly despicable".

Mr Museveni was for many years lauded as a good leader on a continent plagued by dictators.

Uganda has never witnessed a peaceful transition from one leader to another since independence in 1962.

The fear from some observers is that through his reluctance to leave power, Mr Museveni risks destroying his own legacy.


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