Amama Mbabazi Statement | As Presented to The Central Executive Committee (CEC) Sub-Committee At Statehouse

Posted July 24, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Party Politics in Uganda ~ 23,929 views



On Monday 15th June, 2015 I publicly declared my intention to seek the people’s vote as Flag-bearer for the National Resistance Movement and, ultimately, for President in the 2016 Presidential Elections. Prior to that, several days earlier, I had penned a letter to the National Chairman of NRM informing him that I would be duly seeking to be elected both Chairman and Presidential Flag-bearer for NRM.

The reasons I gave were simple and profound. I believe it is time for two changes: a change of guard and a change in governance. I am not alone in this regard and by many indications the aforementioned change is desired by the Ugandan people; more so, it is deserved. As I stated before and shall keep stating, much has been achieved and there is a marked difference between the Uganda of today and Uganda in January 1986. The victory of NRM in 1986 brought about a level of civility that had not been seen in our politics for a long time. And yet following the June 15th declaration, the response from the party leadership has been beyond all reason:

…On Aspirations
I followed my declaration with a letter to the National Electoral Commission (EC) in which I informed them of my intention to begin a country-wide tour of consultations. The EC responded in the affirmative within two days. An exchange of several letters ensued as first the Police (whom I had also informed of my intentions) sought guidance from NRM.

In response, NRM attempted to advise the EC on how to interpret our electoral laws by claiming that I was not “an aspirant sponsored by the NRM political organization with the meaning of the NRM Constitution and the law’ and therefore could not go about my consultations. This culminated in the EC making an about-turn on its earlier position, which was in line with the law as well as the position of the Attorney General by asking me to “harmonize” my position with the party before I could be permitted to consult.

With this, the EC abdicated its authority to oversee electoral matters transferring its constitutionally mandated duty into the hands of a single party the NRM. In so doing, the EC which is supposed to be a non-partisan organisation aligned itself with NRM party and its erroneous interpretation of the party laws, national laws and the balance between the two.

In essence, what the NRM, the Police and the EC were saying was that in order to aspire to any office a member of a political party needed the party’s permission before he or she strove to do so and therefore it was illegal for me to consult. And yet anyone aware of the national laws that superintend these matters knows this to be fundamentally false. Section 3 (1) of the Presidential Elections Act 2005 (Amended 2010) states that

“An aspirant may consult in preparation for his/her nomination as a Presidential Candidate.” In defending itself the party leadership has argued that all laws must be read side by side and that national laws therefore cannot be interpreted in abstraction to party rules. It is obvious then that the party leadership does not understand that the relationship between internal party laws and external national laws is hierarchical: our national laws are supreme and all other regulations must seek to comply with them; the most supreme of all being our National Constitution.

As the NRM Constitution does not have a provision for a person who is an aspirant, as there is no mention of that word anywhere in it, we must obviously look to our national laws. The applicable law in this situation would be the Presidential Elections Act 2005 (PEA). What does the PEA envisage when it calls a person an “aspirant”?

“An aspirant is a person intending to stand as a candidate during the election for the Office of President.” – PEA, Section 1 Therefore, anyone who would like to become the President of Uganda must first have intentions (or, in other words, aspirations). Once one has intentions the next logical step surely is to examine one’s chances of success by exploring how much support one could gather.

It is entirely possible that out of this exploration one comes to realize that their ambitions are not viable and at this point their journey may come to an end. This process is what the PEA envisions when it refers to consultations.

Upon completion of consultations, and on the occasion that an aspirant feels their prospects are good enough, he/she can then offer him/herself for nomination. This can be as a member of a party (in which case one is required to go through the specific requirements of their party) or as independent (in which case one awaits the nomination of the EC).

As a member of the NRM party, I am subject to the laws that govern our internal elections and of this there is no dispute. We have established that there is no law concerning aspirants and their consultations in the NRM Constitution. And thus, the PEA remains our only point of reference in this regard. In light of this, it is nonsensical to claim my aspirations are illegal or that I as an aspirant for any position need the permission of my party which lacks in its own Constitution a basis upon which to bar my consultations, much less my aspirations.

…On Violation of National Laws
First came the arbitrary arrests. These began on the night of June 14th as clearly the State had become aware that an announcement was likely to occur the next day. Young people all over the country were arrested for possessing t-shirts, bandanas and posters. The Uganda Police Force was deployed in Kampala and around the country for the sole purpose of hindering the announcement and all associated activities. For the next several days the Police took to tearing down my posters in towns all over Uganda and imprisoning any supporter found wearing a t-shirt. By June 20th nearly 80 of my supporters had been apprehended and taken to unknown destinations. These arrests continue today.

The case of Vincent Kaggwa arrested on Wednesday July 15th is perhaps the most shameless of all. When the State resorts to arresting a 25-year old man with a wife and two children, blindfolding him and taking him from place to place, in order to interrogate him, hose him down with ice cold water, and repeatedly ask him one single question, “Why do you support Mbabazi?”, it necessarily means that the State is not above acting in contravention of all known laws including our own Constitution which enshrines the freedom of thought and association under Article 29.

While arresting my supporters for donning t-shirts, holding small gatherings and possessing posters, several anti Mbabazi demonstrations were held in towns across Uganda. These demonstrations had people wearing pro-Museveni t-shirts, and holding banners and posters. The Police even escorted the demonstrators on their routes.

One particularly incredible event was the premature burial of one Amama Mbabazi in Gulu complete with coffin and a Police escort. While this may sound comical, what it really shows is a discriminatory application of the law. One where an individual’s supporters are deemed criminals for committing certain acts and another’s supporters are deemed lawful for the same. My supporters were said to be engaging in “premature electioneering”. What is this premature electioneering? According to the Oxford Dictionary to engage in electioneering is to “…take part actively and energetically in a campaign to be elected to public office.’

I aver that in Uganda today there is no such thing as premature electioneering. I will take you once again to Section 3 (1) of the PEA 2005, which prior to its amendment in 2010 stated that “An aspirant may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as a Presidential candidate within twelve months before the nomination date.”

Under this law, premature electioneering would apply. However, the law was amended in 2010 to remove the phrase “within twelve months before the nomination date’. This means that at no point can electioneering prematurely occur in this country. In fact, to my recollection, the person who has been keenest to get a head start in electioneering has been the National Chairman of NRM for whom February 2014 was the beginning of his campaign to be a so-called sole candidate. It is obvious to anyone who has encountered the numerous Museveni t-shirts and posters in circulation since that time as well as the appearance late last year of soaring billboards on various roads and highways declaring him the sole candidate for NRM, that there has been unabashed self promotion that can only be seen as electioneering.

In order to justify the arrests of my supporters as well as my own arrest, that of my daughter and those of the opposition, the Public Order Management Act (POMA) has been invoked time and again by the Uganda Police. I have stated repeatedly that the Uganda Police are simply violating this law. It was to my incredulity that on June 23rd the Inspector General of Police (IGP) wrote to me to say that I had not been “cleared” to begin my consultative tour. There is no law, certainly not POMA, which empowers the IGP to permit or forbid any public meeting or gathering. This is just one of many instances in which the Uganda Police has participated in a concerted effort to misinterpret the law and dupe the public with regards to the scope of the powers they have.

…On “Nomination” Fees
Historically the lack of funds has been an impediment to the smooth running of party affairs. In the past, we had discussed charging a small and reasonable membership fee in order to facilitate our operations. Raising funds to cover the administrative costs of running primary elections is of course both rational and necessary.

This is, in part, the reason why political parties charge nomination fees. Yet to call the fees recently approved by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) and levied by the NRM EC “nomination fees”is actually wrong. Typically fees are paid at the time one submits their papers for evaluation in order for nomination to occur.

In this case, the deadline for submission for nomination forms is 11th September. To require a member to pay a fee (be it 10,000/= or 10,000,000/=) as a pre-requisite to receiving the nomination forms is in essence a requirement for a member to pay for his/her aspirations. NRM has never done such a thing before and indeed there is no legal basis.

Neither the Presidential Elections Act (PEA) nor the Political Party and Organisations Act (PPOA), the relevant laws of reference, require any member of a political party to pay for an aspiration. The only fees payable by presidential aspirants are specifically for nomination by the National Electoral Commission and are found in the PEA Section 10 (6) (b), “..a non-refundable fee of four hundred currency points payable to the Ugandan Administration in cash or bank draft…”

What about fees payment for other aspirants?

The Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 only requires in Section 11 (3) that, “The nomination paper of every candidate shall be accompanied by a nomination fee of ten currency points in legal tender or a bank draft for that amount made payable to the Uganda Administration.”

Again, there is no requirement for the payment of a fee for aspiring to become a Member of Parliament. This applies to all elective positions in NRM. So: where does NRM derive these powers? According to the latest response from the Secretariat, NRM derives these powers from CEC. From which law does CEC derive these powers? Even if it were justifiable, our first consideration would have to be to charge our members a reasonable amount. We would also have to consider the logistical costs that our members could encounter as they traveled to pick up nomination forms. In the case of an aspiring LC I Chairperson, he/she is required to pay 10,000/= to the District Registrar’s office. One may think that this is the only cost associated with this exercise, but imagine the following;

An aspiring Branch Chairperson has to travel to the bank (to pay) and to the nearest District Registrar’s Office to obtain the forms. An aspirant from Karapeta, village in Kaabong District, must travel 112 kilometres to Kotido Town; Rushaka to Kanungu to Town over 40 kms; etcetra. All these in search of a Centenary Bank Branch. Imagine the cost! When one considers that many will need accommodation and meals, it would not be surprising if the total cost exceeded the nomination fee tenfold!

Considering that incumbent Branch Chairpersons are volunteers and aspiring ones, should they win, will not be paid either – this cannot make sense. The bastion of support for our party has always been the volunteerism of the ordinary man or woman. To impose a charge of 10,000/= for anyone to aspire to the office of village chairman makes us seem at worst unsympathetic and at best detached from the realities of people’s lives. This is akin to taking the ownership of NRM out of the hands of the many and delivering into the hands of the few. Is NRM now to become a conclave for the “haves”?

…On Ethical Conduct and Other Regulations
The Code of Ethical Conduct Form requires that one binds oneself to not stand as an independent candidate should one lose in NRM primaries. All persons wishing to pick nomination forms are required to first sign this form, waiving a fundamental right enshrined in Article 72 (4) of the Constitution, “Any person is free to stand for an election as candidate, independent of a political organization or political party.”

In addition, this ideal has been guaranteed in our Constitution under the National Objectives and Directive Principles State Policy II (ii). “All the people of Uganda shall have access to leadership positions at all levels, subject to the Constitution.” NRM is bound to follow all the aforementioned objectives and principles according to Article 71(1)(c) which states that, “…the internal organization of a political party shall conform to the democratic principles enshrined in this Constitution…” As seems to be the new norm, this is simply another illustration of a disregard for the supremacy of the Constitution. Unsurprisingly, this unconstitutional-ism rears its ugly head again with regards to the regulations over manifestos and campaign materials.

Section 3(1) of the PEA allows for the preparation and therefore the use of manifestos and campaign materials during consultations.  If the leadership had its way these regulations vis-à-vis campaign materials would be applied retrospectively. This is in itself an absurdity given the amount of campaign materials already in use for over a year most of which belong to the National Chairman.

When we levy aspiration fees and force members to waive their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution (to stand as an independent as well as to produce and use manifestos and campaign materials); when we require them to have academic qualifications even when we as a party are not mandated to do so, then we obstruct access to leadership positions and therefore contravene the democratic principles as outlined in our Constitution.

Is the party leadership now dismissing these democratic principles?

…The Changing Face of NRM
It is obvious the new rules and regulations passed a month after my public declaration are meant to curtail any chances of me standing within NRM as Flag-bearer and National Chairman.  The beginning of this irrationality was in February 2014 at the Kyankwanzi Retreat where I was “accused of habouring ambitions” as though lack of ambition is a virtue.  I was then castigated as a villain and subjected to continuous “public humiliation” in the hope that I would be politically extinguished.

Unfortunately for those leading this boorish campaign, I am politically alive and vibrant.

The misguided events that took place at Kyankwanzi are herein relevant not because they are personal but because they illustrate the wanton disregard for procedure, propriety, professionalism and rule of law that has so unfortunately come to characterize NRM in recent times. Even the points raised above – on the various illegalities within the recent rules and regulations – support this.

As a founder member of this party and one who abides by the core values of the National Resistance Movement, I am ashamed of these recent actions. I am ashamed because they confirm a long held suspicion that we have deviated from our original vision, mission, character, aims and objectives. I am ashamed because the continuous use of state machinery in this competition and the use of Police for political objectives threaten to turn Uganda into a Police State.

In light of all this one comes to one of two conclusions. Either the leadership of NRM has become largely ignorant of the laws of the land, or the leadership has become a law onto itself having now decided to abandon the core values of NRM. On my part, I will continue to embody the true purpose and identity of the National Resistance Movement. I will remain steadfast to our principles even if I find I stand alone. I will stay the course. Those who wish to veer off are free to do so but I will not be going with them.

Amama Mbabazi, SC, MP

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.



    George Onesimus

    For sure, you are right Mr. Amama Mbabazi. The NRM is for the “have”s now.

    George Onesimus

    NRM is for the “haves” now. For sure, You are right Mr.Amama Mbabazi

    arthur Abigaba

    Wow. And no response from Kiryowa yet?

    Benson Braxie

    I feel like re-reading this. Words of wisdom from a learned friend.


    Ironically, with this kind of insight & boldness. Mbabazi will go down in Uganda’s history in good stead.

    Michael Mawanda

    Mr Amama is an opportunist who did not heed our complaint as long as he remained in the ruling party. Now that he wants to become president he turns round to say they are bad and am the good one. Vote me! Noooo. What a shame. He now come up with political jargon to just win votes. It’s men like Amama Mbabazi that make politics dirty.

    Ernest Asiimwe

    I am humbled….we just need to rally behind this great man..

    Mukwaya john

    For the core values of democracy,surely change is upon us fellow country men en women les embless “CHANGE”@@@@@@@@GO FORWARD.

    Kiyaga david

    Mr.JPAM has got a point to prove

    chris Martin

    I am completely touched by the words of the Rt Hon John Patrick Amaama Mbabazi…..i want us to realise that the government has nothing to give and everything to give but yields under pressure.GO FORWARD for a Uganda we all want.

    Ibrahim Kaye Semajwali

    Well put JPAM.

    Joseph masajjage

    Micheal mawanda stop your cheap talk, yes he was and still part of the nrm party, and now he says enough is enough so you prefer he keeps in the rot within nrm and keep his mouth shut? Like nothing is happening for us whose eyes have been open right from the start are happy that he has finally comeout to speak up, wasnt Besigye part of nrm, mugish muntu, sejusa, and many more, are they all mad people. Shut up, or speak senses.


    Go go go jpam Ugandans surely need change and change is you

    Richard Mwonge

    Where was he for the last 30yrs when he misinterpreted the same laws against others give us a break we need a real change exclusive of all who have been in power 10yrs and abover


    This reveals how both the NRM old wing and the police are set not to follow any law laid down,there’s no rule of law in this country, this will destroy even what we seem to have achieved ,there must be a change before everything is destroyed,I believe Jpam can bring this change because of his wisdom!

    Bampabura Fred

    Yes Amama Mbabazi… U’re right. Uganda deserves a better Democratic political arena… Move forward pliz .

    Feta Simon

    Categorical sensibility of cause indeed.

    teriyeitu samuel

    I like what amaama has expressed as asenior member of nrm and as augandan.ido not see any reason why mbabazi shdnt be allowed to stand?and another thing for sure if there is rule of law why shd nrm forge for da guidelines dt contradicts with da national constitution?nrm and da national constitution,wc one shd be followed first?lastly let me hope da so called mawanda who have commented on this platform is not da one I knw ie mp bt if he is da one,then he is adisgrace to our nation no wonder many of da so called legislator


    Hear, Hear!! Let’s Go Forward!

    Raymond Tumuhaise

    we like it or not, Uganda is increasingly becoming a dangerous country to live in with the ever growing Musevenism.m7’s regime survival strategies are costing us alot.any forces to uproot this costly and unsustainable phenomenon is welcome. amama is welcome n Ugandans can’t afford to b disappointed by you.

    Bukenya fred

    For us we lost hope ever since M7 decided to openly impose him self on Ugandans by force by use of state machinery ie police and army……a clear indication that he knows he nolonger have the mandate of the electorate.
    Only God will save us!

    Esau Turyatunga

    Power belongs to the people.

    Soon we shall see people (we) coming up to exercise what the constitution says.

    For God and my country, this dictatorial way should stop.


    I believe no man if he is there than cannot change coz good is naturally given. So forget the past en do good for this nation JPAM

    Fred Wambete

    I believe if any person read this before picking forms then they couldnt pick the form because this is just like crossfying yourself. Thanks for interpretation of the law to the ignorant NRM candidates.

    Fred Wambete

    I believe if any person read this before picking forms then they couldnt pick the form because this is just like crossfying yourself. Thanks for interpretation of the law to the ignorant NRM candidates who have picked forms.


    I have been a great critic of Jpam but you know you become saved after accepting sin and proclaiming salvation. Then you are forgiven Jpam join the struggle its never to late

    A Amon.

    Richard Muwonge has a point, and he is entitled to his opinion. Don’t get so blind because someone is telling you what you want to hear, i think that’s how we got where we are in the first place. B0701197186orrowing from Christianity, the preacher is not necessarily the saviour. It may be true that we need change, but not all change is equal, not all change is necessary, in the event that this change is necessary, let us closely examine the people/person in whose hands we put our future to avoid being used to achieve a personal gain. I’m not for or against anyone, it’s too early to decide. Keep an open mind.
    Above all, no selfish interest is worth the blood of any Ugandan. Let’s pray for and work towards the a peaceful transition.
    For God and my country has ever since been replaced with Go forward. I think these have to go hand I hand.
    For God and my country.


    am at university studying medicine but this amama makes me to love law bravo


    Thanks for opening our eyes. It’s only those that wish this country well that can appreciate this. This country needs change. It may not be you jpam but someone like you sets an example for the rest. We must jump out of the military threatening kind of government to a more diplomatic and democratic one. It’s a good thing that most people have attained some level of education to use their brain in knowing what’s best for us. I wish we can get that person who can keep their world and not play around people’s minds. Good message Jpam

    mire be julius Edwin

    Thanks we are behind you Patrick, stay steadfast, the chairman has lost it in his quest to retain power. He is a shameless old man. He loves himself more than he loves Uganda. No wonder people are at times questioning his nationality. Uganda is bigger than anybody he should be reminded of that. Go JPAM we shall not forsake you. You are a capable leader

    Nkuutu Mosesm

    I’m a little skeptical. JPAM has been in the political bed with YKM for more than 40 years and is best suited to know what kind of machinations that may be employed in the event of any opposition to his former master. I find it very difficult to believe JPAM however good his thesis is. I am part of the general public that has been following the current trends very keenly. The occurrences are not in tandem with what usually occurs when YKM is faced with such scenarios. Why the difference? Why I’m I still in a an abyss?


    We still have a long way to go! 21st century and we still have people who reason like Mawanda…. And blv me he is not alone.. But surely change is inevitable, thy either change or we will force them out. #GoFoward

    arafat moustapha.

    Any rightful thinking ugandan wdnt evn need to know whether JPAM has bn part of the rot or not!!.what is now important is the new package he has for ugandans!!.We cant compare wz those who stl think tht uganda is on the right course!!.Thank u JPAM!


    let us wait time will tell.

    Abel Naggy

    Hon Michea Mawanda (MP) Igara East has personal vendetta against Mbabazi.
    When he was contesting agst Dr Richard Nduhura (then Minister) he was using Mbabazi language.
    Who is fooling who.
    Mawanda should debate Mbabazis views rationally.

    Mbabazi should go ahead and fight a good fight, use your good knowledge of the law to show us where the potholes are on the road to 2016.

    Those who are opportunists are on a gold rush to pick forms, But Mbabazi is making great sense


    Yeah, the very tenets we fought to uphold are the very ones we are breaking.


    Uganda is at the perepheral of becoming a dictotorial govt. Those with discernment discern wat JPAM is saying. Why does pro govt demostrations allowed and those of opposition crusbed?

    Martin Byakuleka

    All right thinking NRM members must be ashamed and disappointed. To fail to feel ashamed and disappointed only implies that one is a either a beneficiary of the inconsistencies or a zealot who deem the leadership gods; or outright mentally disabled. Let us do the right thing and #GoForward2016.

    Lukwago geofrey

    Well Amama, you’re right but tothe extent that this has turned out to be a boomerang to you! Yes. I mean you’re right but only to that extent.

    muwanguzi david

    Mbabazi is a smart guy. When i look at the shallow brains like the Anites bashing him i even wonder

    Tom Mbalinda

    Why are people deviating from the real issues. The issue is not Amama’s perceived silence while in power. The issues are; state institutions being used to promote party aspirations; an IGP and EC that says national laws must he subjected to internal party rules; obvious bias of the EC and Police which are supposed to be non-partisan; harassing a man because he has shown ambition to accede to office through constitutional means; arresting people on charges such as ‘premature electioneering’ which don’t exist. Mawanda and co. if what Amama says does not make sense simply because he has come out late to speak, so will what you say when THEY come for you in your constituency and impose a candidate as party flag bearer simply because he is someone’s son, nephew or in-law…..After ring-fencing the No. 1 position as Museveni’s as of right, THEY will come for your lower positions……yours inclusive, Hon. Mawanda. Watch this space! One for the road, I am going to vote for JPAM. You may start preparing my charge sheet for ‘premature support of a candidate engaged in premature electioneering’.

    mabala ivan

    NRM shld know that their time has come to an end, AMAAMA we shld not allow the weak minded people to stop as on our journey, UGANDANS WAKEUP,,,,,,,?

    wofakale julius

    iam even worried of those hoping to study might be crapped as soon as possible.because of this light from mr. Amama,long Live Jpam and stay focused.thanks


    To eat a fresh fish. you must go near to a lake showers.
    A hot cake is got from near a bakery!
    For Mbabazi to win the fight. he must remain in that dat narrow ring with m7.Whoever lacks oxygen shall be Stepped down.
    Long live the two, #FDC _we go

    Edith Grace Ssempala

    What is happening in NRM and in our country is not only shameful, it is dangerous. History could repeat itself and the signs are clearly on the wall for all to see. When the law is selectively applied, violations of human rights are on the rise, people are not free to express themselves and to support whoever they want to support. When bribery and corruption is justified at the same time teachers are not even paid their peanut salaries, when women are dying in childbirth because of lack of medical care, youth unemployment is said to be about 80%- these are sign of dangerous times ahead unless Ugandans say “NO, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE”! I am particularly concerned about the recruitment and training of the so called “Crime Preventers” which could be dangerous militias. We know what happened in Rwanda and history should be our best teacher.
    We will overcome with God’s help but God expects us to do our part- DEMAND, the rule of law and equality of ALL Ugandans before the law, good governance which includes respect for human rights, freedom of expression and of the press, decent education and health care for all, jobs for our young people instead of handouts of bribes in envelops and say NO to rigging of elections and make sure we all vote! Evil triumphs because good men/women do nothing!


    I wish uganda’s democracy could grow and catch up with u.k democracy where political competition is only about what you promise in your manifesto’s and not about personalities or where certain political parties are for the employers and the others for workers and not where some parties belong to a particular person!


    Am enlightened by your wisdom of the law,ur the real sabalwanyi uganda requires.
    Goooo 4ward JPAM


    Reason has overtaken force. In otherwords, why read a book if you can speak to the author? You have spoken and we have heard you and now that we know, Fellow Ugandans, Lets Go Forward.


    I am looking forward to Counsel Kiwanuka Kiryowa’s response to this legal synthesis that JPAM has clearly put forward. Key questions and issues stick out and KK should thwart them properly to convince the nation that NRM is still on course (of course it no on course at all).
    What does the PEA envisage when it calls a person an “aspirant”?
    What is this premature electioneering?
    Is NRM now to become a conclave for the “haves”? If not, why levy fees to aspirants who are not yet nominated yet? When they pay nomination fee to EC, won’t that be double levy?
    Has the party leadership now dismissed democratic principles?


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