Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has reassured on his friendship with President Museveni, saying politics would not antagonize his relations with longtime friends.
“We may disagree politically…you may champion a completely different political line,” said Mbabazi, possibly in reference to his decision to leave the ruling NRM party to start Go Forward and contest for president in 2016.
“But for me, the associations that I have had; like long associations I have had, will not be broken by politics,” he stated, attracting a standing ovation from the audience.
Mbabazi was speaking Saturday night at his residence in Kololo, Kampala during the giveaway ceremony of his niece, Bridget Birungi to Andeli Ramaphosa.
The function was graced by President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni.
South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa also was in attendance.
Mbabazi fell out with Museveni after the 2011 elections.
It was understood that Museveni would support Mbabazi for president in the 2016 elections.
However, Mbabazi was later dropped as Prime Minister before being voted out as NRM’s powerful Secretary General.
An attempt to rally all opposition forces behind Mbabazi under the TDA Alliance collapsed just a few months to the 2016 election campaigns.
Mbabazi thanked Museveni for “accepting our invitation” to attend the ceremony.
The former premier cracked ribs when he said he would “get time and ask President Museveni if he voted for me.”
The mood was jovial as the two comrades cracked jokes throughout the function.
Museveni, who arrived at Mbabazi’s residence at 1:00pm, stayed around till 10:00pm; a situation President Ramaphosa said was rare as heads-of-State are always busy.
Mbabazi appreciated Museveni for providing financial support to Birungi and her mother Peace who lost her husband in the struggle against the regime of Milton Obote.
In his speech, Museveni recalled meeting Mbabazi in the early 1970s.
“We were engaged in our wars. In 1974, we had a big set back after we launched a badly planned attack on Idi Amin and many people were killed. Our internal network was disorganized. Eriya Kategaya and Ruhakana Rugunda fled to exile,” said Museveni.
“We had to look for a new layer of network to replace the one which was compromised. Eventually I got in touch with Mbabazi and Kahinda Otafiire who were student activists,” he added.
Museveni said Mbabazi “was able to rebuild the network among intellectuals” as FRONASA kept other unexposed networks.
Museveni repeatedly referred to Mbabazi as “my young brother” and Jacqueline as “my in-law”.
He observed: “I thank my young brother and Jacqueline for inviting me and Janet on the Kuhingira of this child of our freedom fighter whom I didn’t know,” said Museveni.
“You don’t go to a wedding swinging arms to contribute to the number of eaters. You must be carrying something on your head. Now that Bridget is going away, I am giving the bride gifts to escort her. I’ve brought a few cows in an envelope to escort the bride,” he said before handing an envelope to Birungi.
“Now that I have known the mother, I must do something else. I have to contribute something,” he added.
The event attracted senior government officials including Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, Mayur Madhvani, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Malac among other top dignitaries.