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Q&A Part II | The Video Edition – A Conversation with Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi In Boston

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Posted May 15, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Inside Politics ~ 3,706 views

     

By Ronnie Mayanja — Last week I received a tip from a reliable source that the Prime Minister of Uganda was due to arrive in Boston on May 8th 2014 on a private family visit. Your journalist swung into action for what was believed to be an exclusive interview.

And so I set out, arriving at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston on Thursday evening, where I was greeted by the US – Secret Service agents who formed part of the Prime Minister’s security detail. After a brief background check by the agents I was then permitted to proceed and see the Prime Minister. Our conversation lasted about an hour and I asked if we could do it on the record.

As soon as we sat down I wasted no time diving into what I believed were key issues in the news back home. To start off our conversation, I asked the Prime Minister to describe  his current relationship with the First Family and his take on the current sole candidature scheme that is slowly gaining traction within his NRM party.

Without noticing it, we spent a good 20 minutes on the subject of succession and post Kyankwanzi melodrama. One thing I must add: the Prime Minister, though still jet lagged from his travel, seemed quite steady as he answered each and every question I put to him. He was quite tactful in responding to the reasons why his party and the President’s support base were busy ring-fencing the position of President. And for many responses the lawyer in him was quick to use legal jargon in explaining his position.

On corruption and what he as Head of Government Business was doing to help stamp out vice and improve government efficiency, the Prime Minister was quick to acknowledge government failure to eradicate vice, but noted that the government remained committed to fighting corruption, empowering several government organs with autonomous power to prosecute instances of corruption.

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Regarding tourism, Mr Mbabazi was also quick to mention that a recent report had described Kampala as one of the safest capitals in Africa. Tourism had also overtaken remittances as the number one source of foreign exchange in 2013, a sign of the growing importance and potential of the tourism industry.

When it came to the subject of homosexuality he said the anti-gay bill was now law, although it is under challenge in Uganda’s Constitutional Court. As such, he did not want to comment publicly on a matter that was now sub judice, so he left it at that.

Uganda’s involvement in South Sudan was described and defended as an effort to safeguard Uganda’s strategic interests in the region, though the Prime Minister noted that Uganda had entered South Sudan after President Salva Kiir requested support from our President. He did not indicate however who was shouldering the burden of this war effort in South Sudan.

We discussed Uganda government oil policy and the Public Management Order Bill that is now law and has caused the opposition parties many headaches, since all public gatherings require prior police permission and supervision to proceed.

As we concluded, I asked the Prime Minister about what effort the government was making to support diaspora initiatives and the possibility of the Uganda government creating a Boston consulate to promote trade and investment, since Boston is home to the biggest concentration of Ugandans in North America. (other consulates exist in Texas, Illinois, Colorado and California)  He pledged to take it up with the relevant government organs and also encouraged Ugandans living abroad to register for the newly instituted National Identity Card project that will soon be extending to Ugandans living in the diaspora soon.

Overall, I came away quite impressed with the Prime Minister, who was personable, orderly and thoughtful in his responses.  Like or hate him, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi is definitely one politician to watch on Uganda’s changing political landscape. Ugandan Diaspora News is proud to present the full video interview of the Prime Minister’s Q&A in Boston — good viewing!

Historical footnote — In 2016 President Museveni will have been in power for 30 years and by the end of 2021 it will be another 35 years. For a youthful population that has only known President Yoweri Museveni at the helm of Uganda’s Presidential politics, it will be interesting to observe how they react to the elder statesman’s wishes if and when 2021 comes knocking. Of course, much can change between now and then.

Editor’s note — Ronnie Mayanja is founder and editor Ugandan Diaspora News. He is also a resident of Boston, Massachusetts and the interim executive secretary of the Ugandan community in Boston.


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.

2 Comments


  1.  
    Wodkoch

    Ladit R. Mayanja,
    Good interview; but I wished you pressed the guest more on number issues. As usual, everything I heard was time worn out rhetoric & NRM propaganda. On corruption, ‘it is the publicity & awareness’ of it that will kill the vice, boy what a shallow & feckless response. He is part of the problem & beneficairy of a master planned scheme at the highest level of government. On diaspora community participating in elections; ssebo I hope that you will want your vote to count & be meaningful in the sense that the system in place has the capacity to make it so! We are all very much aware that the current constituted so called Independent Electoral Commission is nothing but an NRM hand picked tool to validate a rigged pre-determined election results. Why you did not press hard on this issue is a surprise or could it be you quite knew the answer… at least it would have been fair just for the record to hear his anwser. My appeal to all the opposition parties in Uganda; be steadfast & resolute & demand without relenting a total reform of the Electoral infrastructure before they participate in a credible election, that is free & fair! The future of a stable Uganda absolutely depends on it. Thanks for all you do. Regards. Wklaa




  2.  
    Alex Kakaire

    Thank you Ronnie for sharing that information. For any one who has been following political events in Uganda and Africa in General, it’s common practice for leaders to demonise and humiliate those who voice against dictatorship. Mbabazi’s sin is refusal to promote the kyankwanzi resolution which up to now is illegal as how it was passed and endorsed did not follow the party’s constitution. Hate him or like him, Mbabazi is the only hard working and committed party leader The Movement Party has. The rest are all in for selfish reasons. This is a cadre still following the resolutions that made NRA capture power. He does not really need to be PM to make a voice as those who follow him know his merits which out weigh his Party leader. If he ever contests in a free and fair election, if that will ever happen in present Uganda under current leadership, results will prove me wrong, God forbid! Those are my views. Thank you





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