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Cautious Museveni now washes hands with bottled water

By Winnie Mabel November 20th, 2023 2 min read

A moment to publicly wash his hands has turned into a viral moment for Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Last week, he and First Lady Maama Janet Musrveni presided over the passing out parade of 2000 police constables from the Police Training School, Habalye in Musindi District; and after interacting with them, he rushed to wash his hands.

Seated on the presidential dais in military fatigues, a female staffer approached him with a waste paper bin containing four water bottles from a popular bottling company, soap and a hand basin. She then bent over and proceeded to facilitate the President’s hand washing. The photo was posted by Ugandan journalist Andrew Bagala on X and it gained traction online.

President Museveni’s overly cautious interactions with compatriots and fellow humans has become renowned outside Ugandan borders. This stems from the covid-19 pandemic which saw him change his lifestyle during and after the pandemic, even today where the virus has become less viral compared to 2020 and 2021.

Once the virus became a global pandemic, President Museveni was never spotted without a white, disposable KN95 medical mask.

This breathable mask comes with five layers that greatly reduces the chances of a person getting infected by any virus unlike the ordinary surgical masks.

Additionally, President Museveni stopped hosting local and international guests to indoor meetings and was often captured hosting them on State House gardens and sitting great distances away from them- including his son when he and his MK Movement paid him a courtesy visit.

Additionally, President Museveni stopped shaking hands with anyone, including fellow presidents. He would either wave to them in respect or use the World Health Organization’s recommended greeting, the ‘elbow touch’. He also rarely stands close to his colleagues whenever he takes official photos with them.

Additionally, he also avoids crowds to greatly reduce risk of being infected considering his advanced age. Coronavirus greatly affected older people, resulting in massive loss of life across the world.

However, despite his overcautiousness, including his aide-de-campe handling his renowned hat with a tissue to avoid direct contact- President Museveni did contract covid-19 in 2023.

Prior to being isolated, he interacted with fellow politicians but upon being criticized for not following prevention of spread protocols, he went into isolation, and temporarily handed over power to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanjah.

From isolated, he kept up an online journal on X where he detailed his days, his medication and recovery as well as his hopes for his countrymen and Uganda. He recovered after a few days and resumed duty.

His cautiousness has since increased beyond unexpected levels- like washing hands using bottled water unlike other leaders who simply use tap water.

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