Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni surprised his fellow Heads of State at the just concluded United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York when he insisted on greeting all of them using the ‘non-fashion’ left hand.
However, it is one act – greeting U.S. president Barack Obama with the same hand, which stood out.
In a video shared by Uganda’s Howwe.biz, Museveni is seen prior to the summit meeting greeting United States President Barack Obama using his left hand after he (Obama) stretched his right hand to greet him.
Obama, however, noted Museveni’s right hand was bandaged, prompting him to make a light joke out of Museveni’s gesture.
Addressing Museveni, he joked: “Someone made you mad and you took a punch at him?”
President Museveni ostensibly did not take the joke kindly; he simply ignored Obama with a negative body language and shoved him to the next leader.
Obama’s light joke sent Twitterverse into a tizzy with some quarters arguing the US President somehow disrespected Museveni by associating the Ugandan leader to a fighter who habitually punches everyone who annoys him.
President Museveni, through his communications team, explained in detail why he was using his left hand.
On behalf of Museveni, the communication detail wrote on Facebook: “When I (Museveni) was going to Japan, while in a hurry, I strongly hit my right hand against the door of the car. The doctor applied some anti-inflammation gel when there was some swelling. We did not concentrate on it because it did not hurt but remained slightly discomforting.”
However, the President later sought medical attention, only to find out he had a fracture on his right hand, which called for treatment.
“When later an x-ray was done, it was discovered that there was a small spiral fracture on the metacarpal bone of the right last finger (akahara) which is being managed conservatively. It is not painful except when direct pressure is applied on it.”
He disclosed: “That is why I use the left hand to greet. Managing conservatively means using a bandage for two weeks.”
For quite a while now, Obama and Museveni have differed publicly over the issue of gay rights which has made sections to believe it could have fuelled the U.N. summit cold treatment.