What was he thinking? Maybe after 30 years cooped up in the office, the 71-year-old ruler needed a breath of fresh air
Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, stops to make roadside phone call, publicized by his own press corps
Twitter explodes with Museveni roadside phone chat meme
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, has just pulled off what might be a heck of a maverick and astute political PR stunt or a plain dumb ill advised move to creating trending on socailmedia.
Predictably, social media has gone into speculation overdrive after Yoweri Museveni was photographed talking to a mystery caller from a foldout chair. The photo shows the Ugandan president, chatting on the phone while sitting on a chair on the side of a village road, which has skeptics askingquestions , such as whether the fedora wearing leader was pulling off a cheap publicity stunt to mask imminent unpleasant political manouvers or he actually was dealing with urgent matters of state, that could not bear to wait.
The photo was released by his press officer Don Wanyama who said on Facebook that his 71-year-old boss had stopped his motorcade to make the 30-minute call while returning from World Population Day celebrations in remote western Uganda on Monday.
Yes thanks, I’m sitting comfortably
President Museveni was on his way to a public engagement in the south west district of Isingiro when his motorcade ground to a halt, a padded foldout seat appeared and he relaxed into a 30 minute chat.
Or at least that’s what the photo posted on Facebook by his press secretary appeared to suggest, although he does not say why the call had to be made from a roadside chair – with an accompanying desk – but Ugandans have offered their own explanations on Twitter.
It did not take long to reach the consciousness of Ugandans on Twitter (#UOT), who spent the next few hours frantically speculating about who could be on the receiving end of such an important call.
The speculation hasranged from the plusible tothe hilarious. Could it be that he was trying to stop opposition leader Kizza Besigye being released on bail?
The politician, who is Museveni’s most formidable opponent, had been imprisoned for two months on treason charges after he denounced February’s elections as a sham and declared that he was in fact the winner.
Or maybe the photo was a carefully choreographed PR stunt to distract attention from anything Besigye had to say?
Maybe it wasn’t politics but Museveni had experienced one too many connection dropouts and decided that there was no time like the present to fix Uganda’s mobile signal? Or maybe he’d just got round to downloading Drake’s latest album?
As the meme multiplied some Ugandans questioned whether they should be following presidential protocol by finding a outside spot to sit and chat, challenging others to do the same using a hashtag inspired by Museveni’s nickname M7.
Although some attempts seemed more opportunist than others.
Others didn’t seem to care too much about who was on the other end of the call but clearly enjoyed imagining the 71-year-old president, who has been in office since 1986, in alternative surroundings.
And as the meme merry-go-round continues, it remains unclear who provided the chair.