Museveni’s VP also bitten by sleeping bug

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is known to often fall asleep during public functions. But he does not see it as a problem and his aides say he does so to meditate.

In 2014, NTV Uganda found itself in trouble after airing footage of the President snoozing in Parliament. It was suspended for a while from covering presidential functions.

Dennis Katungi, the government’s media centre manager at the time, told AFP: “The president has habits, he meditates and they know it, and still they go out and say he was sleeping. The suspension should not be permanent. It’s temporary, to make them think.”

The incident comes to mind after the Daily Monitor, a sister publication, tweeted a photo of his Vice President Edward Ssekandi sleeping at a conference in Kampala.

Museveni's VP also bitten by sleeping bug Ssekunda Ssekandi sleeping Museveni

Apparently, the sleeping bug appears to have bitten him too.

Uganda’s MPs and ministers have also come under criticism for snoring away during presidential addresses or when the national budget is being read.

‘Sleeping Nation” found its way to one tabloid newspaper’s splash headline after an unprecedented number were caught sleeping alongside their pictures.

The public begun being alert  but  second deputy prime minister Moses Ali even started wearing sunglasses too dark to enable anyone to see whether his eyes were open or closed.

In Kenya, when MPs (and ministers when they used to sit in the House) are caught asleep, colleagues, including the speaker, always defend them, saying MPs do not sleep, they think with their eyes closed.

In a bid to stop embarrassing pictures of sleeping MPs getting their way to front pages, the Standing Orders now require that the cameras focus on the member on the floor and not other shenanigans going on in the House.

Writing in the Sunday Monitor sometime back, columnist Bernard Tabaire was of the view that sleeping is not a bad thing. Sleeping on the job is.”

Clearly, the VP was sleeping on the job. Or perhaps, the presentations were boring.

Interestingly, when he launched a guerrilla war against then President Obote, Museveni promised to restore the sleep of Ugandans, which he later turned into a key campaign catchphrase, according to Al Jazeera.

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Commenting on Museveni and other MPs and ministers sleeping in Parliament, critic Mathias Mpuuga said: “Museveni is supplying the sleep he promised Ugandans.”

“President Museveni has never been delusional about it; he warned Ugandans early enough that his will be a regime of sleep and he has not disappointed,” Mpuuga told Al Jazeera.

Such is the controversy surrounding the sleeping culture that Museveni in his May inauguration speech after his re-election early this year vowed there will be no sleeping this term.

“This is not a term of sleeping. This is a term to work,” he reassured. “During this term you will get to see how rebels work.”

But from the look of things, he still has some work to do.

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