President Museveni has held talks with the new United States Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E Brown.
The meeting took place at the president’s country home in Rwakitura, Western Uganda.
In a Tweet, Museveni described the meeting, which was graced by Uganda’s Ambassador to United Nations, Adonia Ayebare, as “private”.
“Thanks ambassador for your time,” said Museveni.
However, Natalie said on Twitter that he met with President Museveni on December 27 for “an open exchange on bilateral relations and conditions needed for Uganda’s growth and to attract private sector investment, which include free, fair, inclusive, and peaceful elections, as well as a vibrant civil society.”
The meeting came high on the heels of the arrest of human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo over alleged money laundering and violent clashes between police and supporters of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.
The developments in Uganda have attracted international attention.
“The United States is a longstanding partner of Uganda. We expect our partners to live up to their obligations to hold free and fair elections,” said outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, adding, “We are paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process.”
Details of the meeting between Natalie and Museveni remain scanty.
However, it is understood Museveni used the meeting to give Natalie an analysis of the political situation prevailing in the country especially after the arrest of Opiyo caused unease in Washington.
ChimpReports understands this was the first time Natalie, who Natalie previously served as the Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea between 2016 and 2019, was meeting with President Museveni since she arrived in Uganda on November 1.
Uganda has maintained bilateral relations with United States since Uganda’s Independence in October 1962.
From Somalia – where Uganda is the largest troop contributor to the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) – to the Great Lakes region, Uganda has largely shared U.S. interests in combating terror and promoting stability.
Yet, according to U.S.’ Integrated Country Strategy, Washington believes Uganda confronts significant threats and opportunities over the mid-term that could affect its political and development trajectory and by extension, U.S. national interests.
“Uganda’s long-term potential to advance our joint interests hinges on its ability to maintain domestic stability. That domestic stability is already facing daunting challenges, including extreme demographic pressure, steadily declining democratic governance and legitimacy, deep economic fault lines, and the real risk of exogenous threats emanating from troubled neighbors,” reads the U.S Integrated Country strategy published in 2018.
Uganda sits on 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable petroleum reserves and could benefit from more than $18 billion in foreign direct investment before 2025 in mid- and upstream development of this asset.
A U.S.-led consortium recently won the right to develop a $3 billion refinery, and U.S. Mission Uganda will work to leverage this success into further involvement of U.S. companies in Uganda’s energy and infrastructure sectors.