Presidential aspirant Hon John Patrick Amama Mbabazi has come out to shed more light of the factors that pushed him to turn against his master president Yoweri Museveni and declare his intention to contest against him in the coming elections.
Among these Mbabazi revealed Saturday morning, it was the February 2014 Kyankwanzi NRM Caucus resolution that endorsed Museveni to stand unopposed in the party primaries and thus carry the NRM flag in the 2016 general elections.
The contentious proposal was brought before the ruling party caucus by the Northern Youth MP Hon Evelyn Anite. She has since been appointed State Minister for Youth and Children.
The resolution was reportedly premised on allegations that some members notably Hon Amama Mbabazi was at that time organizing some party members against President Museveni, something that was deemed detrimental to the party’s cohesion.
Mbabazi hesitantly signed the resolution amidst piling pressure from the MPs
While appearing on the weekly political talk show the Capital Gang, Mbabazi said the spirit of the debate at Kyankwanzi and the accusations leveled against him, virtually turned him into an enemy.
He said after the meeting, the chair of the session Hon Ruhakana Rugunda asked him to make a presentation, in which he warned the members to desist from “taking decisions based on unverified information [about recruiting a divergent faction]”
Mbabazi said he was also dismayed by President Yoweri Museveni’s conduct that evening; “I told the meeting that this wasn’t the President Museveni I knew; because if he was, he would have behaved differently.”
“In history there are cases where methods have been used to divide mighty empires, and these methods are dependent on false information. I told them that they were looking for enemies where they didn’t exist and in so doing the actually created these enemies,” stressed Mbabazi.
The former premier went on to explain that his decision to sign the resolution, hours after close to 200 members had finished signing, was only “tactical.”
“My signing of the document was to say that I had and I still have confidence in my president and chairman and his leadership. It had nothing to do with ring-fencing him as the absolute leader of the NRM,” he added.
Mbabazi’s argument however that the resolution was based on false information was ardently dismissed by government spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo during the talk show.
Mr Opondo reiterated that the decision was arrived at by sound NRM Mps who picked information from their constituencies that Amama was organizing enemy groups against the party leader President Museveni.
“The Kyankwanzi resolution didn’t come out of the blue… Of course Mbabazi denied but time has vindicated us and exposed him,” he said.
Mbabazi went on to dismiss media reports that he had vowed never to stand against President Museveni, noting that he was quoted out of context.
“I have not said I won’t stand against Museveni. What I said in full was that, if Museveni or any other person was elected flag bearer of the NRM, though a free and democratic process, then of course I will not stand.”
He however expressed his reservations on this possibility, citing the previous NRM Delegates Conference at Namboole which exhibited high levels of intolerance and lack of democracy. His supporters were locked out of the venue and he was not allowed an opportunity to say a word.
“For the first time in the NRM history, President Museveni at the Conference gave a summarized version of the speech, and told members to go home and read his speech in detail. The other item was about me. And that was the end!”
NRM’s Opondo in response noted that on the contrary, the practice of vibrant and constructive internal debate in the NRM had died during Mbabazi’s reign as the parry Secretary General.
Opondo recollected that after the 2006 elections some MPs came out and accused him Mbabazi of undermining their return to parliament.
“These same issues came up in 2011 and in my view he didn’t give it sufficnet attention.”
Mbabazi admitted this fact but rushed to add that majority of complaints on this matter were against State House and not him.