Former Prime Minister has for the first time, openly discussed his readiness to work with the opposition forces in Uganda to oust President Yoweri Museveni.
The revelation came out in the second snippet of the interview he gave to BBC radio’s Alan Kasujja in which he confirmed that he is in talks with the opposition leaders.
Mbabazi, who has been part of the top ruling NRM leadership for the last three decades, said his ambition has always been to work with all Ugandans irrespective of their various affiliations.
He reassured his supporters that for the first time, President Museveni would in October this year face real competition in party’s primaries to pick the flag bearer for the 2016 presidential elections.
But if the party repeated the same manipulation as was the case in the previous December 2014 National Delegates conference, Mbabazi said he would have to consider crossing to the opposition.
If your party decides that President Museveni should actually be the flag bearer, are you going to work with the opposition?
That question is very unfair, because whether I win or lose, for me I have always believed in the unity of Uganda. And I think we should, as we did when we formed the IPOD [the Inter Party Organization for Dialogue which brings together the six political parties in Parliament both on government and opposition]. We believe that Uganda will be better off when we unite our energies.
So does that mean that you are happy to work with the opposition if you fail to get the nomination within the NRM?
I must tell you that whether I win or I don’t win, I have always held the view that we should always be united.
You are not really answering my question.
I have answered your question, I don’t know if you want me to answer it differently but that is the way I have answered it.
It’s a simple question. Would you join an opposition party if your party the NRM did not choose you to be the flag bearer?
But why do you insist on that question? Because obviously it assumes that that’s my way of looking at things and it’s not. I am telling you that even now, I have been talking to members of the opposition; I have no problem with them. I am a strong NRM person, as you know I have been a leader of the NRM from the time we started it because I was party to the formation of the NRM.
So, that’s a very unfair question. What I can say is that I expect democracy within the NRM, I expect transparency in the management of the election, and I expect that given free choice, I will win in that election.
What happens if you don’t win; if those things that you expect do not actually happen?
My expectation is that NRM will conduct free and fair elections, and from the experience of the national conference of the party in December, where there was clear manipulation; if that happened, then we’ll obviously have to consider the opposition.
What does that mean, considering the opposition?
As to how we’ll conduct ourselves.
What are your options?
The options are that those that don’t believe in democracy go their own, those of us who are democratic will continue on our path of democracy.
Do those people who suggest that you are trying to split the party the NRM, do have a point then?
Not at all; this is competition for leadership. You see in NRM, we have never had real competition for the leadership of the party; for chairman or for president. We have not had it. This is the first time that it is going to happen.
I can understand the apprehension that the people have, but everything has a beginning and for me, I am not really worried.