Uganda’s long-time president says he’s taking ‘forced leave’ after testing positive for COVID-19

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s longtime president says he is taking “forced leave” after testing positive for COVID-19.

Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, said on Twitter that he was experiencing “mild symptoms” as he goes into isolation.

While two of three samples collected from him earlier in the week tested negative, one returned a positive result, he said in a statement Thursday.

“I have, therefore, got the second forced leave in the last 53 years, ever since 1971, when we started fighting Idi Amin,” he said, citing the dictator who ruled Uganda in the 1970s.

Museveni, 78, said he delegated his duties to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

News of Museveni’s sickness has drawn mixed reactions from Ugandans. While some are wishing him a quick recovery, others elsewhere on social media have not been so kind.

Museveni won a sixth presidential term term in 2021. His supporters are urging him to run again in 2026 amid an apparent presidential bid by his son, who is critical of the ruling party.

While Museveni is beloved by many Ugandans who credit him with bringing relative stability to the East African country, many others see him as an authoritarian who depends on the security forces to stay in power.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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