No one can hound me out of NRM, says Mbabazi
Posted Sunday, March 9 2014 at 19:56
Interview. Prime Minister and the ruling NRM secretary general Patrick Amama Mbabazi has been the man in the eye of the storm for the last two weeks following a series of events in the ruling party’s parliamentary caucus. The all-powerful premier came off as a man hounded and pounded. In an exclusive interview with Monitor editors Charles Bichachi & Alex B. Atuhaire on Saturday, he said he is not a man to be hounded out of his position just like that
It has been a politically difficult week given the events that transpired at the NRM Caucus on Monday and Tuesday. What do you make of everything?
Well, I am not sure that I agree with your assessment of the week, because I wouldn’t classify it as a difficult week because there was nothing special. It is true there are certain things that happened. Maybe they were not your usual routine kind of activities; it had some surprises, but there you are. It is one of those things. You know in the NRM, when we meet, we speak as openly as we can. People feel free but I can understand why you are saying that because you got these leakages, which were, of course, calculated to convey a message and image that was inaccurate and full of exaggerations, misrepresentations or distortions as the President calls it.
When this whole matter started, it all started in Kyankwazi about two weeks earlier. Were you surprised by the events in the caucus?
Yes, I was surprised by the manner in which that motion was handled because it was not on the agenda. It just came out of the blue. I think that’s not normal, but in politics there are not too many surprises.
There has been talk that all this has been planned and carried out by your senior colleagues whom you may have undermined on your way up?
Well, there were some people behind it obviously, and in the debate, some spoke candidly so I have no doubt that some of the people who are behind this are those who have one grievance or another against me. Of course, it’s not true that I have undermined anyone because I have never done so. There are allegations, but it is not true.
Any specific names you can throw up?
No, not really, I don’t want to.
At State House, the President presented a recording gathered by intelligence, showing you had been speaking to mobilisers to garner support for your presidential ambition. You say we got selected leakages. What exactly did the President present to the caucus?
In the first place there was no recording. Zero! Nothing but that is popular now in the media.
So what exactly, did the President present?
What he read was taken off some recording of some junior officials of the party at the district level and actually they did not implicate me at all. I mean there were people getting signatures to support the anti-Kyankwazi motion. My name only came in because they said for us we shall urge so and so to stand. They had not even urged me to stand. I don’t think they said we are urging. They said we will urge so and so, and I don’t know when they will urge.
There is a context to this recording that we need to be clear about. Your wife has issued a statement confirming that somebody actually recorded her?
Not at all. Nothing, and it had no voice. It was a discussion between these guys and one of them was talking about meeting her (my wife). Another one was saying, “But you people they are asking us to sign this thing for Mbabazi, I have been with him for so long, I worked with him, and he has never told me anything like that.” He was questioning.
Do you feel you have been unfairly treated and betrayed seeing these young people like Evelyn Anite attack you at the caucus meetings?
I think it shows we the parents must pay great attention to how we bring up our children, especially in regard to giving respect to elders and seniors. You know even if an elder is wrong and he is making a mistake or has made a mistake, it does not cost you anything to tell him in a respectful manner. But I am not saying the Anites did that. Those are your names, not mine.
During those two different meetings, you and your wife were accused of using your positions in the party to build structures for the supposed Mbabazi presidential bid in 2016.
By the way, I have not even been accused of that. I haven’t heard.
Those are the lines we have been getting in the media.
Those are your confusions, and I don’t know where they came from. It is implied but I have not heard any direct accusation because I told them, if they had them in mind, I would encourage them not to waste their time; just bring one single person.
You see the President presented a paper in Kyankwanzi, and warned members about cliques. Many have jumped to say he was talking about Mbabazi and his presidential bid. So you have been accused.