HELLO?

President Yoweri Museveni took a call on the side of the road, and Ugandans thought it was hilarious

Quartz africa
Quartz africa

Who was president Yoweri Museveni talking to? Why did he pull over on the side of a rural road to take a call? And why did he have to be stationary to talk on a mobile phone? These were just some of the questions trending in Uganda on Tuesday (July 12) when the country’s leader stopped his motorcade, unfolded a what looked like a deckchair (or likely, he’s aides did the heavy lifting) and took a call on the side of the road. His press secretary Lindah Nabusayi tweeted these puzzling photographs:

After three decades in power, it seems Museveni can still surprise Ugandans, or at the very least, entertain them. Curious residents of the Isingiro village wandered over to inspect the unusual traffic disturbance. Soon, the twitterverse came over for a closer look too.

Ugandan Twitter erupted with thousands of hilarious tweets:

The 71-year-old president’s choice of a more classic cellphone model also attracted some scrutiny:

Then came the memes:

No one could answer why exactly the president took what seemed to be extraordinary measure to take a call, but that didn’t stop them from imitating him. The #M7Challenge went viral,with Ugandans using the president’s nickname, M7, to tag their best attempts at the presidential pose.

Jumping on the bandwagon, the president’s viral images were used for marketing and public service announcements.

We may never know who Museveni was talking to, or why he and his motorcade had to stand still for the conversation or how much traffic he caused. The 30-year old administration is not known for transparency (a contested election is just one example), but it is becoming known for the president’s gaffes. Just last week, he repeatedly referred to Israel as Palestine during prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit to Uganda in an awkward international incident. While Museveni holds on to power, he is providing reams of great comedy material.

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