If it is “unpresidential”, it should be awkward. For example; last week as the Budget for FY 2017/18 was being read to the country, the President Yoweri Museveni astounded the nation when he turned up at Parliament [Serena Conference Center] dolled up in full military wear. It is unconventional.
Yet while wearing UPDF uniform was quite queer in itself, to many, it did not surprise. Ugandans have had time to get used to such expression from President Museveni.
In so laboring to be the “man-in-charge” of everything, it is said that he oftentimes goes too far instead, and on such occasions, he, of course, gets a share of mud slung at him.
In this article, I attempt to list the Top 10 Awkward Actions of President Museveni in the last 30 years;
1. Hopping Onto a bodaboda to get to nomination ground in time
It was 2001, the last day of the Electoral Commission to nominate Presidential Candidates. At 5 O’clock, President Yoweri Museveni was desperately running out of term – or time, for that matter.
We would never have a second Term of President Museveni. But a Boda-boda man saved his day. He got out of his presidential car, hopped onto a Boda-boda, was whisked away to Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, just minutes shy of closing time; he reached the Commission’s desk and was nominated.
The Boda-boda man was later handsomely rewarded with a brand new motorcycle. However, the event lived to be talked about until now. Today, boda-bodas have grown into powerful political constituencies that politicians exploit to farther their selfish agendas.
The man who carried him on the motor bike was not even part of his security detail. He compromised his own safety… that was awkward.
2. Playing football At Namboole
President Museveni has actually time and time again blown over his own trumpet for having been a footballer back in time. And that even though he’d aged, he still had it.
For these over-rated skills of his, he has since got more than a few opportunities to share at Mandela National Stadium. But to everyone’s dismay. Okay, thing’s the time you should have been playing, you were politicking. Sit down already.
Okay, it has always been invigorating and interesting to watch you doing nothing on the pitch all the times but it is still awkward!
3. Carrying loads of money in a sac
While in Kamuli, a few years back, the president donated 250 million to the youths in this region and handed it over to the youth chairperson Samson Bwire. But that’s not the point.
The point is that in 2013, the president carried the money with him in a sack, [the type that peasants use for storing or carrying their agricultural produce from one place to another]. Having received the money on behalf of his constituents, the chairman of the Busoga Youth Forum, Samson Bwire beside himself with joy, smiled from ear to ear, even as he promptly hoisted it onto his head.
Beside the fact that the very idea of the President to hand out money in a sac was archaic, it also brought out a mixture of amazement and anger from different people – as it meant that the systems were clogged and dead and the President did not even trust his own people.
In response, government insisted the President wanted to flout bureaucracy which, apparently, always delays service delivery. Any way it was still super awkward!
4. President Museveni As A Rapper
Over 70% of Ugandans are below thirty years of age. This is a fact and it is what every 2011 Presidential candidate ought to know if they were to have any chance at the ballot box.
To win the vote of the young people, one had to indulge their interests both in policy plans and style [aka swag]. Well, President Museveni’s stunt was to rap his way to the hearts of these young voters.
“You need another rap?” so he rapped – an old cultural rhyme of Ankole sub-region that was astutely mastered along a Hip-Hop beat. The lyrics were mixed with an English catchphrase and the song was undeniably good.
This song, otherwise known as “Mp’enkoni” became an instant hit in Uganda and abroad, to the extent it got featured on International News Agencies such as CNN & BBC.
It is such an epitome of swag for your President to spit out rhymes and rap but it is also somewhat awkward!
5. Shaking People’s Hands With Left Hand !!!
Who greets the Holy Pope with a left hand? Well, President Museveni can and he did. In 2015, the Holy Father happened to stumble across the President in New York, and even called at his Hotel suite, where they talked briefly ahead of the Papal Visit to Uganda, later that year.
It turns out, President Museveni had gotten his hand fractured and on doctors’ orders he could not use it for anything. That he was poised to be Chairman at a special UN sitting in New York; he would not miss it, and with his sick hand he went ahead and chaired the deliberations.
He had to greet all his colleagues [heads of state] queerly with a left hand, including the President of United States, Barack Obama who, apparently, even teased him if he had been punching someone.
Well, this was purely awkward on the President’s part
6. President sitting by the roadside making a call turned Sevo Challenge
A picture emerged on the social media accounts of the President but it was not just another picture. It was a shot of President Museveni sitting cozily by the side of a good country road, making a phone call.
Speculation was all over the place, with some suggesting that he had gotten out of his car to find good phone reception (network) while the other conspiracy theory was that he had received a very important call from one of the “big boys” from abroad and he needed undivided concentration which he would not get while driving in the car.
State House Explanation was that President had been stopped at Kyeirumba Village to make an urgent phone call and also had a brief chat with the residents. They thanked the government for tarmacking the road that connects Uganda to Tanzania through Isingiro.
It was a good one but still it was awkward!
7. “Leopard Anus” Comments
In the heat [hustle and bustle] of the 2016 General election, a lot of ‘political drama’ ensued. However, beyond the drama, there were also grossly unfortunate acts of violence intermixed within the campaign efforts and these, the incumbent; Yoweri Museveni was never to take lightly – especially when they involved hurting people from his own NRM Camp.
This was in Western Uganda where the proponents [overzealous supporters] of one of the contestants, Amama Mbabazi got violent and scuffled against their opponents, the Museveni Supporters.
When the President was asked to comment, he was full with fury, throwing jibes at Mbabazi for being so reluctant to control his crowds. Then he turned to the perpetrators and angrily threatened to deal with them decisively. At this he metaphorically quoted a Runyankore proverb, which in translation was about to go viral – with some viewing it as funny and others, as the President being Obscene.
“You cannot poke your finger into the anus of the leopard,” he said. And this became viral. Upon this, President Museveni even earned himself a nickname until now “Leopard”.
After that outburst from Mr. Leopard, no one ever wants to put him in such an awkward position again!
8. Demonstration of Drip Irrigation
It was at the peak of the dry spell  when President Museveni wowed the country by having to demonstrate to the peasants not to stand idly as their gardens get scorched to the ground.
He was in Nakaseke – Luweero and it was such amusing for the President to humble himself into a lowly peasantry to mulch his garden and install drip irrigation system. For this, the President received both praise and scorn, depending on which side of the isle one was on. What is for sure though, the news became viral across the media platforms.
The tips were picked but it was still awkward for the President to do P. 1 gardening!
9. President Museveni As Chauffeur
It is just amazing to think or even see the President as being just like us; well, President Museveni is. It was really interesting when the State House released pictures of the President driving himself at his country home with his guests, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Desaleign Haillemariam with his wife.
He was taking his guests around his long-horned cattle farm.
Any President to drive himself is awkward!
10. Buying shoes from Wandegeya
It is no taboo to buy things; but it is also no common practice for a head of state to be shopping just anywhere – whether for himself or his homestead. It just does not happen. But with President Museveni it does happen and it still surprises.
He astounded the nation when he, June 2, 2017, walked into a shop in the city and bought for himself a pair of shoes on his way to launch the Presidential Initiative On Skilling the Girl Child project, that is housed in the main Wandegeya market complex.
That was awkward!