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Museveni - International Recognition

Museveni has won praise from Western governments for his adherence to IMF structural adjustment programs, for instance through privatization of state enterprises, cutting government spending and urging African self-reliance. Museveni was elected chairperson of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1991 and 1992. He permitted a free atmosphere within which the news media could operate, and private FM radio stations flourished during the late 1990s.

Perhaps Museveni’s most widely noted accomplishment has been his government’s successful campaign against HIV/AIDS. During the 1980s, Uganda had one of the highest rates of HIV infections in the world, but now Uganda’s rates are comparatively low, and the country stands as a rare success story in the global battle against the virus. One of the campaigns headed by Museveni to fight against AIDS was the ABC program. The ABC program had three main parts “Abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms if A and B cannot be adhered to.

In April 1998, Uganda became the first country to be declared eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, receiving some US$700 million in aid. Museveni was lauded for his affirmative action program for women in the country, he was amongst the first African leaders to appoint a female vice-president, Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, and has done much to encourage girls and women to go to universities.

From the mid-1990s, Museveni was seen by some to exemplify a new breed of African leadership, the anti-thesis of the “big men” who had dominated politics on the continent since independence. This section from a New York Times article in 1997 is illustrative of the high esteem in which Museveni was held by certain Western media, governments and academics:

"These are heady days for the former guerilla who runs Uganda. He moves with the measured gait and sure gestures of a leader secure in his power and his vision. It is little wonder. To hear some of the diplomats and African experts tell it, President Yoweri K. Museveni started an ideological movement that is reshaping much of Africa, spelling the end of the corrupt, strong-man governments that characterized the cold-war era. These days, political pundits across the continent are calling Mr. Museveni an African Bismarck. Some people now refer to him as Africa’s “other statesman,” second only to the venerated South African President, Nelson Mandela."

In official briefing papers from Madeleine Albright’s December 1997 Africa tour as Secretary of State, Museveni was called a “beacon of hope” who runs a “uni-party democracy,” despite Uganda not permitting multiparty politics. Museveni has been an important ally of the US and the world in the War on Terror.

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Page last modified: 04-06-2015 21:05:14 ZULU