Against the backdrop of skepticism that he is too old to lead a largely youthful Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has today embarked on a six-day 195km trek through eight districts that provided his NRA rebels shelter as he waged the bloody 5-year war that brought him to power in 1986.
The President says his trek is a symbolic walk that started at Galamba in Wakiso district to Borembo in Kibaale, is meant to celebrate heroic sacrifices by freedom fighters.
Along the route, Museveni has met with people who gave him food, or hid him and his colleagues as they fought Obote’s soldiers in the 5-year bush war. With health camps organised in all the eight districts where he will pass, Museveni is likely to argue that he hasn’t forgotten those who bled or lost loved ones during the NRA bush war.
But his opponents say he is only trying to prove he is ‘fit enough’ to contest for the sixth term of office in 2021. By 2021 Museveni will have held power for 35 years.
Already, his supporters are using the event to spin his fitness agenda despite the fact that he is well over 75 years.
With Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, 37, hell bent on unseating his ‘grandfather’ Museveni, some indeed see the trek as a gesture to attract the youth vote by indicating that age is just a number.
Although Museveni says the walk is only symbolic, some of his supporters including his Senior Presidential Adviser on media John Naggenda have warned him against the venture on health grounds.
Writing in his Saturday column in the New Vision last week, Naggenda advised Museveni to spare his energies for other tasks rather than embark on the trek.
The absence of any single bush war veteran on the frontline of the trek has in a way betrayed the president by suggesting that his generation is tired.