Sunday March 16 2014

You reap what you sow, Bukenya tells Mbabazi

NRM secretary general Amama Mbabazi (L) and

NRM secretary general Amama Mbabazi (L) and President Museveni at the NRM retreat in Kyankwanzi last year. PHOTO by FAISWAL KASIRYE  

I have read with much interest the article written by Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the wife of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, attacking the NRM for displaying what she called “fascist tendencies”.

I would like to right away counsel my dear sister Jacqueline that what goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. Even the Bible tells us that when you kill by the sword you will die by the same sword. I am very happy that Jacqueline and perhaps her husband are beginning to reap from their very own dirty handiworks of misusing intelligence structure to engineer and doctor maligning reports against their opponents (real and perceived) to the President.

For her to cry foul of how the President was getting doctored intelligence reports and recordings against their alleged clandestine mobilisation against him, was the most interesting of all, and it exposed her extreme hypocrisy. Why call them doctored now, yet the same were used not many years ago, to malign some of us and falsely tell of how we were mobilising Baganda army officers, the Cardinal, clergy and entire Catholic flock to build power bases against the President?

Recorded voices
At least, in their case I am made to learn (as per media reports) that the President played for them recordings with their own voices that they couldn’t deny, unlike in my situation where there was absolutely nothing.
I will never forget a scenario when PM Mbabazi and his sister-in-law, Hope Mwesigye [then State minister for Agriculture], unfairly and without shame, accused me before the President with purely made-up stories.

They told him that while on my Prosperity-For-All tours in Kigezi in my capacity as Vice President, I only visited homesteads of Catholics and that I was sleeping at the Catholic bishop’s residence for night political campaign meetings.
I watched in utmost disbelief as Ms Mwesigye and Mr Mbabazi boldly told blatant and cooked up lies to the President in my presence. Fortunately, President Museveni listens and does so patiently without panic and emotion. Otherwise, he would have sealed my fate there and then as a treason suspect.

I challenged them to produce evidence of their allegations, but they had nothing. It was only their word against mine. My response to the President was, “Your Excellency, use your intelligence machinery, including the PGB soldiers you gave me as guards and with whom I moved with to Kigezi, to know where I went, which families I visited and which place I stayed in.”

You cannot imagine national leaders fabricating stories and feeding them to the Head of State, fountain of honour and commander-in-chief for their own selfish agenda.

I was, however, not disappointed by the conduct of Hon Mbabazi and his sister-in-law given their previous consistent schemes against me, right from the time I was elected chair of the Movement Caucus in Parliament and eventual appointment as Vice President. They did everything possible to undermine and portray me as a traitor and sell-out to the appointing authority.

It is therefore not surprising, that after having successfully maligned others and pushed them far, they are now targeting the man himself.
The fascism that Ms Mbabazi cries of now was and has never been a founding principle of this mass liberation party called NRM. Otherwise, some of us would not have left our good academic careers to come and serve under it. Openness and working for public interest above self were among those great fundamental principles of the NRM that endeared some of us to join President Museveni.
It was therefore the Mbabazis and their type that slowly introduced those “fascist and mafia-like” tendencies in the party for selfish political gain.

I must confess though that my disagreement with President Museveni and the entire NRM party of late has never been on the leadership style of the leader Museveni, but rather on his and the party’s failure to resist selfish schemers, who want to feel good victors all the time as others get trodden down.

Treating all members of the party equally and giving them equal attention is the issue. I was in prison not because I had stolen any penny, but because someone wanted me there. He schemed and worked for it using the IGG’s office to take me to Luzira prison and thus subdue me.

I am, however, happy that time is slowly vindicating most of us and many others in the NRM that share this frustration but without the courage to speak.
I will not end this article perhaps without mentioning a word about this so-much-traded issue of a secretary general not holding another office so as to concentrate on running the party work full time. I wonder why it is even debated now when it was long resolved by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) at State House Entebbe in 2010, just days to the NRM national delegates’ conference.
It is wrong to give an impression that it is now a new subject being brought out for discussion by the NRM Parliamentary Caucus. Not at all!

I offered myself to run as secretary general well aware that I was doing so at the risk of losing my “big job” of Vice President (as my supporters called it). In fact, I told some people who were convincing me to opt out of the race for secretary general so as to keep my “big number two” job that it’s okay, I was ready to become secretary general of the party and forfeit other jobs for the sake of devoting my time and mobilisation skills to the party.

So why would Hon Mbabazi, fully aware of all this fact, send his wife (as he admits) to covertly undermine a resolution of NEC? And why wouldn’t this constitute an offense for the NRM disciplinary committee to look at?

Secretary general poll
Then there is also this issue I hear about that Hon Mbabazi and his people brag so much about that he won as secretary general at Namboole with a landslide. It’s indeed laughable. The fact that myself as well as Hon Kahinda Otafiire, who contested for secretary general then with him, chose not to speak against the shameful and glaring manipulation at Namboole, did not mean all was well or even fair. We chose to keep quiet, concede all that had taken place for the sake of our party. We did not want anything to divide our supporters as we entered the general elections.
How can Hon Mbabazi, without shame, then brag of a landslide in an election that was organised and directly manned by his daughter, Nina Mbabazi? Indeed, he should have got 100 per cent and beyond.

In fact, if Mbabazi had then even wanted to stand as party chairman against President Museveni, he was also going to “win” against him with a big “landslide”.
It is therefore not surprising that indeed Mr Mbabazi and members of his family are once again said to be scheming and conspiring for selfish advantage within NRM. They have been at it for long. What is new is that they have now targeted the person at the top, that all along protected and pampered them most, as others became victims of their own actions.

The question, however, many Ugandans and mostly NRM members should ask is; why allow individuals to promote selfish scheming and personal interest within a mass liberation party that has reasonable trust and following of many Ugandans? Why not declare openly one’s political ambition and thus be subjected to open competition instead of resorting to covert manoeuvres?

If Mr Mbabazi wants to contest for president, what is wrong with it? I too want to contest for president and I have made my intentions open and public. But why disguise his ambition and only work covertly to divide the party? He denies his ambition in the public but again sponsors proxies to go around campaigning.
Open competition is healthy because it is based on common rules as opposed to clandestine scheming and backstabbing of perceived opponents for selfish gain.
Prof Gilbert B. Bukenya is the Busiro North Member of Parliament