Presidential aspirant Hon John Patrick Amama Mbabazi now in London; has revealed to the BCC radio, details of his meeting with President Yoweri Museveni last Monday at State House.
The meeting followed Mbabazi’s unprecedented announcement that he would be challenging his boss president Museveni in next year’s elections, but first in the October 2015 race for the NRM’s presidential flag bearer.
Mbabazi said as far as he was concerned, he is the only person in the NRM that has declared his candidacy, and that he is still unopposed.
Like we reported yesterday, Mbabazi revealed in the Friday interview that he was persuading the President not to present himself for next year’s election, such that he [Mbabazi] runs unopposed.
In the interview, Mbabazi distanced himself from earlier assertions by the president that he was majorly to blame for the NRM government’s failures, noting that he served as Prime Minister for only four years.
Mbabazi further accused Museveni for always assuming credit for all the good things and pushing the blame to other people where things go wrong.
Below is the full interview.
You had a meeting with President Museveni
Yes, He invited me to State House on Monday this week, and we discussed a number of things. He asked me why I had declared when the party electoral commission hadn’t declared the campaign period.
I told him that I acted strictly within the law. The party has issued the campaign roadmap, we have the dates; actually elections begin this month within the party.
The national electoral commission has declared and published its roadmap, so I don’t see why anyone says it’s not election season; it is.
So he doesn’t really want you run against him, does he?
Well, I don’t know; he didn’t tell me that because he didn’t tell me that he wanted to run. Actually I told him on the other hand that I was so far unopposed.
Unopposed because he hasn’t declared his intention, is that right?
He has not declared his intention, and I hope I can persuade him to maintain that; not to declare.
The truth of the matter is Museveni remains very popular in the ruling party and in the country. Do you honestly feel that you stand a realistic chance of winning?
Well, as the English saying goes, that the taste of the pudding is in the eating; we’ll see when we get there.
You do fancy your chances though
Yes I have no doubt at all, I have absolutely no doubt, if the process is transparent and democratic; the outcome I know.
People who are opposed to your running for president are saying that you are not offering fresh ideas, that you were part of the system for the last 30 years and surely you cannot claim to be a fresher pair of eyes than Museveni is.
You see, what we are talking about is consolidating the gains, the achievements that we have delivered in the country as a government. Looking at the challenges that we have; for instance transforming the economy, NRM has done well in transforming the economy of Uganda because the economy was in shambles. Now we have a manufacturing sector, we’ve done a bit of work in infrastructure, but we still challenges of unemployment, deep-seated corruption, incompetency in performance of institutions…
Why didn’t you fix those things that you are talking about as challenges?
Because I was not in position to do so. Because I didn’t have the authority to do that.
President Museveni has come out and said that if there are any failures, any weaknesses, it’s partly because you as Prime Minister didn’t supervise and make sure that the reforms that you talk about were actually achieved.
I was prime minister for 3 or 4 years
Surely that’s enough time to make an impact
But we have been in power to 30 years, so you can’t blame all these failures on me. But in Uganda it is very well known. President Museveni always gives himself credit for all success and blames others for all the failures. For me I don’t do that. I have been in government and I accept responsibility for all the failures. But I also share credit for the success because I have been part of it. I believe in establishment of an efficient system; having government institutions that are very well staffed by people who are appointed not because of their loyalty to the leadership but because of their competence.
There have also been allegations of corruption that have sort of characterized a good part of your career; people believe that you have been involved in all sorts of corrupt dealings while you were in government. Are you corrupt?
Actually I was known as Mr. Clean until 2008 when the first allegations came and that was after we had been in power for 22 years. These allegations began in 2008 and they were all handled by parliament, by all institutions of government that carried out investigations and they all turned out to be false.