Opinion | ‘Mbabazi Could Do With Some Honesty’ By Don Wanyama Former Managing Editor Daily Monitor

Posted June 25, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Opinion ~ 3,856 views



In October, 2008, Amama Mbabazi, who was the Security Minister, was a man under siege.

The parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises had just finished writing its report about the now infamous Temangalo saga.

The majority report about Mbabazi’s controversial sale of over 460 acres of his land to the National Social Security Fund had concluded that the transaction breached the Leadership Code Act. The MPs also found Mbabazi guilty of influence-peddling. As an editor then, the excitement in the newsroom had hit fever-pitch. The biggest story of the year was unfolding. A “super minister” was about to fall. It was fodder for anyone in the news business.

Then came the anti-climax. Just as momentum was gathering, President Museveni pronounced himself on the matter.

“I know very well that this NSSF land issue is not about Mbabazi but about (destroying) the party and I will not sit back and see my party being destroyed. I know very well all the people in the party shouting on Temangalo and very soon they will be fixed. Mbabazi is not a businessman. He is ever in office or handling my assignments. He does not know business.”

With that proclamation, the tide against Mbabazi changed and he was finally let-go by Parliament. It would be the umpteenth time President Museveni was coming to the defence of his comrade, with whom he shares a history dating back to early 1970s.

Readers with a good memory might remember the events of 2001 in Kanungu where Mbabazi comes from. An acrimonious election for the Kinkizi West parliamentary seat that Mbabazi held but was being tussled for by James Garuga Musinguzi turned bloody. Although Mbabazi was declared winner, Garuga petitioned court and in an 82-page ruling, Justice Fredrick M.S. Egonda-Ntende, upheld all the four grounds on which the petition was based. Mbabazi’s victory was annulled and a re-election called. With the political tide again sweeping against Mbabazi, guess who came to his rescue? Party chairman and President, Yoweri Museveni!

Addressing a gathering in Kihiihi, township in Kanungu, in the aftermath of the election, President Museveni said: “When I retire, we shall call a Movement conference to look for someone who can be a President, a prime minister, vice-president, speaker. When it comes to vice-president, we start looking at Kigongo, Kategaya, Wapakhabulo, Rugunda and Mbabazi. If you remove Mbabazi and replace him with James Musinguzi, what will happen? You would miss that opportunity. Mbabazi is among the first 10.”

The re-election never happened since Garuga pulled out but President Museveni’s public endorsement of Mbabazi would turn crucial as he kept citing it in subsequent elections to keep his parliamentary seat. And true to his word, President Museveni actually appointed Mbabazi Prime Minister a decade later.

With storms dogging his political life, Amama was again the subject of attack in August 2010, this time from MPs in his Kigezi backyard. In a State House meeting, the MPs accused Mbabazi of using the clergy to undermine them as he sought to be the political kingpin in the region.

This is how the Observer newspaper captured President Museveni’s reaction to the accusation: “Mbabazi is a clean man. He is like a white man, he doesn’t booze, he doesn’t involve himself with women, and he is a hard-working man.”

Dear reader, you might be wondering why I am taking you down this memory lane. It is because like millions of Ugandans, I was shocked when I heard Mbabazi, who recently declared his intention to contest for the NRM flag-bearer and later the national presidency in 2016, make a very baseless allegation against President Museveni.

Reminded by BBC journalist Alan Kasujja about President Museveni’s justified criticism of Amama’s “change” mantra, yet he had been part of the ruling system for nearly 30 years, the former premier responded thus: “We have been in power for 30 years and so you can’t blame all these failures on me but of course in Uganda, it is very well known, President Museveni always gives himself credit for all success and blames others for all failure.”

Readers, that is the Honourable Amama Mbabazi, who President Museveni, at the risk of ire from other politicians and leaders, has defended on countless occasions, largely by crediting his work in government and the party. I need not mention the arguments President Museveni advanced in 2010 while backing Mbabazi for the NRM Secretary General job against Kahinda Otafiire and Gilbert Bukenya or even as he fruitlessly tried to keep him in the Central Executive Committee after he had been booted as secretary general in December last year. These must be fresh in your memories.

In accusing the President of claiming credit while passing the buck on failures, Mbabazi seeks to present the head of state as selfish and unappreciative. But is he? Let me refer you to an article President Museveni wrote in May 2012 responding to journalist Onyango-Obbo, who in a piece in the East African newspaper, had expressed “surprise” at the gains the UPDF under AMISOM had made in Mogadishu.

In the article that can be found on Obbo’s blog (, the President uses the pronoun “we” over 30 times in reference to gains of the UPDF and its predecessor, the NRA. Never at any single time does he personalise the victories of the army he has commanded for close to 30 years, instead giving credit to the entire team.

In it, President Museveni pays glowing tribute to officers like Maarwa, Lumumba, Saleh, Kerim, Mwebaze, Koreta, Monday, Tinyefuuza, Benon Tumukunde, Kihanda, among others who commanded several wings of the NRA as it took over Kampala. That is the man Mbabazi accuses of personalizing success and passing blame.

There are innumerable cases of the President, as this country’s able chief executive officer, demanding results from his team. But like the effective manager he is, the President has also given credit where it is due. The quest for presidency should not make Mbabazi suffer selective memory loss.

The writer is a Special Media Assistant in the office of the NRM National Chairman. He is a former Daily Monitor Managing Editor


Source — The New Vision

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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