Uganda’s long-time president, Yoweri Museveni, announced that he will be taking “forced leave” after testing positive for COVID-19.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, revealed on Twitter that he is experiencing mild symptoms and will be going into isolation.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Museveni explained that although two out of three samples collected earlier in the week tested negative, one of them returned a positive result.
Drawing a historical parallel, he stated, “I have, therefore, got the second forced leave in the last 53 years, ever since 1971, when we started fighting Idi Amin,” referring to the former dictator who governed Uganda in the 1970s.
The 78-year-old president has delegated his responsibilities to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja while he focuses on his recovery.
News of Museveni’s illness has elicited mixed reactions among Ugandans.
Some are expressing well-wishes for his quick recuperation, while others on social media have been less sympathetic.
Museveni secured his sixth presidential term in 2021, and his supporters are already urging him to run again in 2026, despite speculation of a potential presidential bid by his son, who is critical of the ruling party.
Although Museveni enjoys significant popularity among many Ugandans who credit him with bringing relative stability to the country, there is also a considerable portion of the population that views him as an authoritarian leader reliant on the security forces to maintain his grip on power.