President Yoweri Museveni was today honored with an African peace award at a function that was largely shunned by majority of Members of Parliament and invited guests.
The ABETO Peace Award is reserved for African leaders, who have championed the fight for democracy, good governance and the rule of law, according to Moses Musana, the ABETO chairman.
Always Be Tolerant or ABETO is a non-profit organization that promotes peaceful conflict resolution, peaceful co-existence, peace, tolerance, democracy and good governance across Africa.
The first African president to receive the peace award was former South African president and anti apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, who got the award in 2009 in Johannesburg.
Musana said the award committee chose Museveni as the second recipient after Mandela, for his years of struggle for peace and democracy in Africa. Musana said they thought that it was important to recognize Museveni while still alive.
He noted that it was unfair most Africans prefer to recognize their people only after they have died.
Musana described Museveni as a Pan Africanist and a man who even tolerates opponents who abuse him.
Cue In: “There have been leaders……..”
Cue Out: “……..Abeto peace award…clapping”
In his acceptance speech, a happy Museveni who was accompanied by his wife Janet to receive the award, said he was grateful that he was being recognized for fighting for peace on the continent.
Sounding humble and modest, Museveni called on ABETO to also recognize more deserving African revolutionaries such as Jommo Kenyatta of Kenya and Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania.
Cue In: “I wish to thank Abeto……..”
Cue Out: “……..thank you very much (clapping)”
Earlier before the function began, there was hours of drama when majority of the invited guests, including MPs and ambassadors did not show up for the function. This left many seats in the large Serena Conference Hall empty, threatening the function from beginning.
Many of the guests eventually walked out by 1pm saying they had waited for too long without eating anything. They had only been provided with a bottle of water for a function that started at about 11am and ended at 4pm.
Musana and presidency minister, Kabakumba Matsiko as well as other organizers paced up and down frantically calling guests and reminding them of the function. In the meantime, the protocol department of State House together with the organizers decided to delay the president’s arrival for close to four hours.
Eventually some staff of Serena and other guests were brought in to fill up some of the empty seats for the function to look colorful.
Musana later said in his speech that he did not know why out of all the 375 MPs invited, only less than ten showed up.