When President Yoweri Museveni visited the South African High Commission on Tuesday to pay tribute to Winnie Madikizela Mandela, he had a brief interaction with journalists which however upset him.
Museveni arrived at the Nakasero Road based South Africa High Commission at about 10:30am and proceeded to sign a condolence book after which, he made a brief eulogy of the former wife of South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela.
He then gave journalists a chance to ask a few questions but the first question from a Daily Monitor journalist exasperated him.
The journalist, Solomon Arinaitwe asked Museveni about the legacy he thinks he would leave behind after more than three decades in power.
Arinaitwe based his question on excerpts from Museveni’s speech in which he hailed the Mandelas for the contribution they made to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the fact that Nelson Mandela served as president for only four years.
Sensing the direction of the question, Museveni tried to interject but the journalist could not let go until he had asked it in full.
“Can we talk about Winnie Mandela? We shall talk about Museveni some other time,” Museveni said.
Arinaitwe however persisted, telling the president that his question was about his (Museveni) legacy to which Museveni responded, “No, my legacy can be talked about some other time, we can have a whole day.”
Not wanting the South Africans to understand, Museveni switched to Luganda and chastised Arinaitwe, calling him ill mannered.
“Daily Monitor is an enemy newspaper, mbatwaala nga abalabe [I regard them as my enemy,” Museveni said.
“Mpisa mbi, kubanga, tuzze kukubagiza wano ate mwe mudda mubyawano, temulina nampiisa… (It is bad manners…We came here to commiserate with the South Africans but you are bringing in our local politics, you are ill mannered)” Museveni said.
He referred the journalist to the book of Ecclesiastes which says that everything has its own time.
He went on to wonder why the journalist was exhibiting insolence at a solemn occasion to bring in politics.
“Tolaba n’empisa zasiwuuka… kirungi ono muboggoledde mu Luganda bano tebalutegeera, yandiswadde nnyo…mulinga abayaye…kati ntandike okweyogerako nga bwendi omulungi, songa nzize wano kukubagiza. Mmwe abaana ani yabalera? Temulina mpisa, temulaba nsonga wejjira. Ozze mu lumbe ate ayagala nnewaane, alowooza ndi musiru, ayagala nneyogereko nga bwendi ow’ekitalo,” an upset Museveni said in Luganda literally meaning, “You are ill-mannered…fortunately, I am rebuking him in Luganda which these (South Africans) don’t understand otherwise, he was going to get so ashamed. You are like a lumpen, how do you expect me to start praising myself at a function where I should be condoling (with the South Africans)? Who nurtured you? He thought that I am stupid that I can start praising myself at such a function.”
He ended the session and asked his senior press secretary Don Wanyama to fix an appointment for him to interact with the journalists.