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‘Caucus resolution mere MPs’ wish’

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Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi during the interview at her home in Kololo on Friday. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIYRE 

By Charles Odoobo Bichachi

Posted  Sunday, March 30   2014 at  18:01

In Summary

On Friday, Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the NRM Women’s League chairperson, who is also wife of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, gave an exclusive interview to Monitor Publications Weekend Editions Managing Editor Charles Odoobo Bichachi. In this second and last part of the interview, she explains her role in the NRM liberation struggle and discusses the perceived breakdown of law and order in the country. The first part of the interview ran yesterday in the Sunday Monitor.

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Let’s delve a little bit into the politics because like you say, all these may cause problems to the country and these are political problems we are talking about. The President has been running the country for more than 28 years.

He has got this endorsement from the NRM Caucus, as you said CEC did not endorse that resolution but the MPs insist and possibly the President is giving them money to go to the countryside and popularise this resolution. Where do you think all this is going to lead the party come 2016? What scenario do you foresee?

I don’t know if the President is giving the MPs money to go and popularise the resolution. What I know is that at CEC, we decided to treat the resolution as a wish of the MPs, which they are entitled to but not as a party resolution.

So as a party, we are not going to popularise that resolution because it is unconstitutional and offends section 35 and section 39 of the NRM constitution.

So right now, I don’t know whether it is their zeal or someone is trying to use them. They are encroaching on the role of the other three party organs. So whether they go to popularise it or not, it is not a party resolution.

Before the last election [2011] during a CEC meeting I attended, we did not allow one Capt Maguru to stand as the chairman of the party and as presidential candidate because we really did not see him fitting; this was genuine.

We disallowed him genuinely, he was not up to the task but still this Capt Maguru went to court and when he did so, the chairman and our party lawyer sat and made some consent out of court and this judgment has been haunting us as a party because clearly, we were wrong to disallow Maguru to stand.
May be we should have allowed him, he would have walked away with his three or four votes. So this resolution is very undemocratic. It is illegal, it could even be null and void but as CEC, we decided to treat it as a wish of the MPs.

Was that a unanimous position in CEC or there were some dissenting voices that saw value in the resolution?
No, when you are in a meeting, a committee or any group, the majority will have the day.
So come 2016 when the party is going into elections, do you see somebody challenging President Museveni from the party?
It is anybody’s right.
And you say you learnt from the mistake of Capt Maguru, so you think the party will not this time round oppose any one challenging Mr Museveni?
I don’t think the party will oppose anyone challenging President Museveni
So the MPs think the Prime Minister, who certainly is a very capable person, is going to offer himself and that is the spirit of this resolution. What is your take on that?

I cannot speak for the MPs. I don’t know what was in their minds to pass the resolution and I don’t want to speculate that they passed their resolution because of the Prime Minister. I don’t know any reasons, they know better.
You have been in the background, all these years you have been in public service, I remember you were at URA, Luweero Industries; you have not been at the heart of politics yet you seem to be very much a “historical” within the NRM. Can you share with us what your role has been in the party historically, pre-1986 and all through this time?

You know the norms in our society, women used to play the supporting role most of the time till recently when a lot has been done on emancipation. So in the 1970s, I played a supporting role to FRONASA. I could say I played a supporting role in FRONASA and doing some activities.

Come 1981, when we went into exile, I was a member of the external wing of the NRA, so when the party started, I became a member of the delegates conference in the historical forum.

That was when we first had elections. In 2005, I was a member of the historical forum and then 2010, I decided to stand for the Women’s League but I have always been a good cadre of the revolution.
I will take you back a little to the youth who were charged. You came out to stand surety for them, which was a very bold decision on your part, considering the perceived powers behind all this. Did you think you would be misunderstood or did you think you owe it to these youth?

Would I be misunderstood by Kayihura? If I were to be misunderstood by Kayihura, I don’t think I would mind. I would be running no risk. I believe every Ugandan can see that these are actually prisoners of conscience.

I believe in human rights but also the fact that these young people had addressed a press conference and said we support Mr Mbabazi, I thought I owed it to them because they were expressing their democratic rights and I believe if Mr Mbabazi had not been busy with state duties, he would probably have gone to stand surety for them.
For Gen Kayihura to be engaged in these activities, it must be by invitation. He has no constitutional role to be playing in the party. Have you as CEC discussed this?

The situation had not deteriorated to the level of having prisoners of conscience and we should urgently discuss it. I don’t know who is funding Kayihura, whether it is taxpayers’ money he is using to humiliate, terrorise, imprison and treat these NRM members like this.

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