People & Power

I am still a retired member of FDC, Garuga says

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Mr Garuga during the interview on Thursday

Mr Garuga during the interview on Thursday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By Allan Chekwech &Stephen Otage

Posted  Sunday, July 20   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Two weeks ago, speaking at Kanungu Town Council where he had gone to commission reconstruction of three bridges in the district, President Museveni said he had stopped property mogul James Musinguzi Garuga from supporting Dr Kizza Besigye. However, in an interview with Allan Chekwech &Stephen Otage, Mr Garuga says he retired voluntarily from active elective politics. Excerpts.

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The Sunday Monitor reported recently that President Museveni came out saying he stopped you from supporting Kizza Besigye’s camp, the FDC. How true is this?
First of all, I didn’t read your newspaper report. But why didn’t you talk to me before you published the things others were saying about me? But if you know the Musinguzi you are talking about, I have no price. Nobody can take me from anywhere.

So was President Museveni wrong to say he took you away from FDC?
I don’t know whether he said that. You are the one (Sunday Monitor) quoting him. I haven’t heard him say so. I retired from politics to farming.

And I refuse to be drawn into politics of any sort. It is not in my position to start commenting about what the President said or may have not said about what you are saying.

So how did you leave FDC?
I retired from politics. I did not leave FDC. But I refuse to be drawn into politics. If you want a very lively and interesting interview, we talk about developmental issues (farming) not politics.

You say you have no price? Not even President Museveni can pull you out of FDC?
Look, how do you pull me out when I have retired? I have told you I have no price. Nobody in this country has capacity to do anything to me that I have not chosen to do and I chose in 2006 to retire from politics. I stated it very loudly at a press conference that I had retired from politics. So nobody can pull me from anywhere.

So why did you retire from politics. Did you feel what you were pushing for had been accomplished or that you were tired?
If you go around you will discover that no everybody is in elective politics including yourself. Aren’t you useful as a journalist? Not every one of us should be in Parliament. I am in farming and I am doing a fairly good job. Not everyone should be a priest. You choose what to be. When I retired from Politics, I chose to go into farming. And for you to be reporting that, I can only say that I retired from politics and nobody pulled me from any place to any place.

How long had you been in politics by the time you retired?
I am 61 years old. I retired in 2006. You deduct seven years that I spent in active politics and you know when I retired.

I went into commercial farming. And I repeat, no body pulled me from anywhere to anywhere. I made a choice to retire from politics. I don’t want to comment on what you claim was said by President Museveni as you are saying. I think the person to interview is President Museveni not me.

But seven years in politics was such a short time for you to retire
How many years have you spent in politics?

Don’t you think seven years is better than no years?

I did seven years because before politics I was doing other things.

You say you went into farming after leaving politics, how is farming now?
You have covered what I do so much in Monitor. If you go into the archives, you will see what I do. I am into large scale farming. I am in tea, cattle, maize and general farming.

Mr Musinguzi, back in the day, you stood against a strong Amama Mbabazi for Kinkizi West. Now that there is perceived collision in the NRM and he could be weaker, wouldn’t you contest for the seat again?
Are you implying that in farming you don’t represent people?

No, I mean you wouldn’t have the same platform as when you were in the House.
Why are you trying to draw me back into politics (laughs out). I retired very loudly and publically and I am in to farming. I am not hiding. You can find me all over the country. I am active but not in politics.

I am sure as a person who was in mainstream politics you still follow the events in politics. What is your view on what is happening in NRM?
There are people in NRM who you should interview about what is happening in their house (laughs). Me I am retired and not in NRM.

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