President Museveni on Friday told a meeting of party MPs at Kyankwanzi that there are emerging cliques in the ruling National Resistance Movement but that those involved would be defeated.
Mr Museveni used the occasion of the NRM retreat at the National Leadership Institute (Nali)-Kyankwanzi to publicly admit that the ruling party is being weakened by members not toeing the line.
“There is a problem of lack of cohesion in the leadership of the NRM which we have witnessed in the past years. I would like to advise those involved to restrain themselves,” Mr Museveni said amidst foot stamping and cheers of approval from MPs.
He added: “The forums for them to discuss everything are there, why then form cliques. The patriotic forces will undoubtedly resist and defeat any schemes designed to distract us from the cause of the Ugandan people using patriotism, pan-Africanism, social economic transformation and democracy.”
Gen Museveni’s Kyakwanzi warning comes hardly a week after he voiced a similar position to the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the highest decision making body of the party, at State House on Wednesday, notifying CEC members that among them were individuals who had started campaigns and yet he was voted and is still around.
“There are people who are members of CEC who have gone out to campaign and yet I was voted and I am still around. I don’t know how that started but I will come back to you soon with an answer,” a source that attended the meeting told this paper.
After his remarks at Kyakwanzi, Gen Museveni had to rush back to State House for another crucial meeting with all security and intelligence directors.
In Kyankwanzi, NRM MPs declined to go on record on the subject raised by their party chairman, insisting they could only discuss the issue at the “forums” Mr Museveni had alluded to.
The President’s comments come on the backdrop of reports that Prime Minister Amama Mbabzi could be gearing up for a shot at the presidency in 2016.
Mr Mbabazi, who is also the NRM secretary general, was recently quoted in the media as saying he will only vie for the presidency if the ruling party gives him a nod of approval.
Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has also been touted by sections of politicians to go for the presidency in 2016 but publicly she remains non-committal on whether she is interested in the top job or not.
Last year, MPs contributing on a motion to congratulate her as chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians International urged her to challenge Mr Museveni, a call she has not publicly responded to.
Last month, a group in Busoga launched a campaign to collect signatures to petition her to stand for presidency.
Mr Museveni’s comments also come as the party continues to reel from the after-effects of expelling four MPs – Barnabas Tinkasimire, Theodore Sekikuubo, Mohammed Nsereko and Wilfred Niwagaba – accused of indiscipline.
The was no drama on the opening day at this year’s Kyankwanzi retreat unlike last year when Buyaga County MP Barnabas Tinkasimire, one of the now “expelled” MPs, confronted President Museveni over his long stay in power, before advising him that it was time he retired.
Mr Mbabazi this time round sought to pre-empt any attempts of discussing the touchy issue of Mr Museveni’s succession by spelling out an agenda that included criminality and corruption.