A group of doctors in Uganda seen on a viral video kneeling before long-time President Yoweri Museveni, begging him to stand for a seventh term in office after 35 years as leader.
The doctors representing the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) had attended a patriotism symposium in the capital, Kampala, when they were led by their leader to kneel before the president, according to media footage of the event.
In his speech, UMA president Dr Samuel Odongo Oledo praised the president for transforming the country’s health system and improving the welfare of medical workers. “Your excellency, thank you. You have uplifted us (medical practitioners). We kneel before you after assessing that you are capable. We have assessed that you have the power. You have everything needed. Help us and contest again in 2026 and take us ahead as you secure our future. We want Uganda to reach where God expects it to be.” He then asked President Museveni to vie again in 2026 as a presidential candidate.
The gesture sparked controversy on social media, with many accusing the group of being subservient to politicians.
The UMA distanced itself from the gesture, saying it did not “represent modus operandi of the association”
Dr Oledo’s deputy, Edith Nakku-Jolaba and the association’s secretary general, Herbert Luswata say he (Oledo) attended the meeting and made remarks in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the association. The UMA NEC agreed and would like to state that UMA is nonpartisan and therefore, does not participate in political activities of partisan nature.
It said: “Uganda Medical Association has always engaged with the president through formal, professional ways including appreciating him through our annual awards.”
The members are already calling for an extra-ordinary assembly so that they can cast a vote of no confidence.
The 78-year-old leader has been in power since 1986. The next general elections are due in 2026.