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Monday, January 26, 1998 Published at 18:00 GMT

World: Africa

Uganda celebrates Museveni's 12 years of power
image: [ Nelson Mandela is given a helping hand by President Museveni ]
Nelson Mandela is given a helping hand by President Museveni

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has celebrated his twelfth year in power with a parade in the capital, Kampala.

It marks the day when Mr Museveni's National Resistance Army finally took control of the capital, Kampala, after a five-year bush war against the former President, Milton Obote, and soldiers from the Ugandan army who overthrew Mr Obote in 1985.

Mr Museveni's principal foreign guest at the celebrations, the South African President, Nelson Mandela, praised Uganda's contribution to realising the aspirations of Africans.

"It is a great pleasure to join you today in celebrating the anniversary of a movement that led Ugandans in advancing the frontiers of freedom," Mandela told thousands of cheering Ugandans who turned up for the festivities.

"We are keen to draw lessons from Uganda's remarkable success in translating its legacy into a record of economic and social achievement," he said.

Mr Mandela said President Museveni had provided African countries with an important example of co-operation with international financial institutions.

Since taking over power, Mr Museveni has introduced Western-backed reforms in order to revive Uganda's economy - ravaged by war, mismanagement and corruption.

He has won widespread praise for his efforts to bring prosperity to Uganda, although there has been some criticism of the fact that the country does not allow multi-party politics.

In a speech at the celebrations, Mr Museveni defended his no-party political system, saying it had allowed Uganda to achieve peace, stability and economic growth by ending politics based on ethnic and religious lines.

Correspondents say that while he has succeeded in his efforts to revive Uganda's economic fortunes with World Bank assistance, he has been unable to end rebel insurgency in the north of the country.

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