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Uganda Observer | Museveni Speaks on succession

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Posted March 6, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Inside Politics ~ 3,276 views

     

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At the end of the stormy NRM caucus meeting on Tuesday, President Museveni said in African tradition the head of the household names an heir. Reacting harshly to his Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s perceived bid to succeed him, the president, who was speaking metaphorically, said only in the unlikely event that the head of the household dies without leaving a will, do members meet and choose an heir from amongst themselves.

Reliable sources have told us that the party chairman reminded NRM caucus members that the position of party chairman makes the holder an automatic presidential candidate and should, therefore, not be taken lightly. “People should not move around seeking support, pre-mobilisation is not a good idea and should be avoided at all times,” Museveni said.

Making reference to last month’s Kyankwanzi resolution that urged him to stand unopposed as NRM presidential candidate in 2016, Museveni said he had not engineered it. “Have I ever asked anyone of you whether physically or on phone to back me in 2016? I want just one of you who I have ever talked to about my re-election in 2016 to come forward and say it,” Museveni said.

“This position is too tasking, wait for the [party’s] membership to single you out, depending on your abilities,” he added. Museveni also told the caucus that Mbabazi’s bid was funded by foreign forces.

“Competition in the party is based on rules; people aspiring for senior positions should not have foreign funding…,” the president said.

Responding to Bungokho North MP Yahya Gudoi’s proposal, he agreed to facilitate NRM MPs to “de-toxicate Mbabazi’s “propaganda” at the grassroots. In fact, a national sub-committee is to be formed for this purpose.

Gudoi’s idea was supported by Samia Bugwe North MP John Mulimba and ministers Bright Rwamirama and Henry Banyenzaki, prompting Museveni to embrace it too. The two-day caucus meeting was called to discuss an intelligence report implicating Mbabazi in clandestine campaigns.

The report was not discussed on Monday because Mbabazi left prematurely. When it came up for discussion on Tuesday, Museveni was in a combative mood. “You should not be egoistic; mind and concentrate on people-based issues… deal with real issues and later attend to your personal issues,” he said.

No kind words

Majority of MPs that spoke at the meeting had no kind words for the NRM secretary general. Although he remained calm for most of the time, Mbabazi is said to have lost his cool when the minister of state for Urban Development, Rosemary Najjemba, referred to him as a disgrace.

“Can’t he control his wife? If he can’t, then he can’t run the party and the country. He is a disgrace; he should resign,” Najjemba said.

Najjemba also drew the caucus’ attention to the March 1 interactive session with the media dubbed “Ask the Prime Minister” at which Mbabazi criticized the anti-homosexuality law.

“Why [did] he, after the president had assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act, call a press conference to criticise him?” Najjemba wondered.

Other MPs, including Kenneth Omona (Kaberamaido), Yahya Gudoi (Bungokho North), Sarah Nateresire (Manafwa, Woman), John Mulimba (Samia Bugwe North) and Barbara Nekesa Oundo (Busia Woman) pushed for disciplinary action against Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline.

“We should adhere to the NRM constitution and deal with individuals who move contrary to [its] provisions,” Mulimba said.

Not alone

Mbabazi, however, got some support from MPs such as Godfrey Kiwanda (Mityana North) and Ignatius Besisira (Buyaga East). Amid heckling, Kiwanda wondered why it was becoming criminal for someone to express interest in the party leadership.

“When should someone express interest to stand for any elective post in the party?” Kiwanda asked.

“We are talking about cliques, but people know it clearly that some people have [ascended to leadership] through cliques,” he said, also warning against the growing intimidation in the party.

“The intimidation is too much, people are no longer free to do and say what they want to say…,” Kiwanda said amid even more heckling from his colleagues. Besisira weighed in, saying the party was becoming undemocratic.

“It seems we are not adhering to the party constitution; why should people be denied an opportunity to exercise democracy by ring fencing some posts?” Besisira wondered.

He said if Mbabazi was too busy to perform the duties of secretary general, it should have been his deputy Dorothy Hyuha to step up and not Richard Todwong (minister Without Portfolio). Hyuha is Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania.

Disciplinary action

In his defence, Mbabazi said the accusations against him were baseless, warning that rumour-mongering was bound to kill the party. But this did not stop MPs from passing a resolution asking the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) to discipline him, his wife Jacqueline and in-law Hope Mwesigye, a former minister.

They also called for disciplinary measures against some perceived Mbabazi-leaning NRM administrative secretaries across the country. The caucus further proposed that Todwong assume some of Mbabazi’s duties as secretary general.

“He is now diminished,” the caucus vice chairman David Bahati told The Observer on Thursday. “Legally, he now has a greater role as secretary general but in practice a lesser role.”

But Mbabazi was on Thursday quoted as saying the caucus has no powers to remove him.

“The party is more responsive to change in terms of managing internal dynamics… what we made was a recommendation to CEC which can take a decision on behalf of the party,” Bahati clarified.

NRM house

During the meeting, Museveni said the party had failed to generate enough income to build the proposed NRM House. He partly blamed his childhood friend, the late Eriya Kategaya, and former FDC president Dr Kizza Besigye, for allegedly mismanaging the NRM enterprise Danze.

“We started Danze enterprises [in 1986] to generate income for the Movement. I contributed the initial funds, about £22,000, Kategaya and Besigye signed for that money, and later on, Besigye received another £5,000,” he said.

He then proposed changes to the NRM constitution, suggesting that the next secretary general should be a young, energetic person with a mature mind. “The secretary general and the deputy should be young and energetic persons who can run up and down to perform party activities with the urgency they deserve,” he said.

Once CEC approves this resolution, the next NRM secretary general could be a person of not more than 45 years old.

sadabkk@observer.ug

Source — Uganda Observer


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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