The Prime Minister’s wife and chairperson of the NRM Women league, Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, has dismissed the resolution by some members of her executive endorsing President Museveni as the party’s sole presidential candidate for 2016.
Members of the NRM Women’s League executive held a press conference at Parliament on Friday and announced their support to the Kyankwanzi resolution, which endorsed Mr Museveni’s “sole candidature” for 2016. They said 10 of the 11 members on the executive had endorsed the proposal, which was passed during an earlier meeting at Lake View Hotel in Mbarara on May 20.
“We are 11 executives on the Women’s League and 10 of us have signed a petition endorsing President Museveni’s sole candidature. While Ms Mbabazi has not yet signed on the petition, she is in total support of the resolution,” Ms Jacqueline Amongin, the general secretary, said on Friday.
However, when contacted, Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi described it as “personal and individual” resolutions, not the resolution of the party organ that she leads.
“I am not aware of any such decision by the Women’s League to endorse the Kyankwanzi resolution ring-fencing President Museveni as the party’s sole candidate in 2016. They have done it in their individual capacities but not as a Women’s League. The executive has not sat, neither has there been consultations at different levels about the Kyankwanzi resolution to arrive at this position,” she told this newspaper.
Ms Mbabazi also said the Lake View Hotel meeting referred to had nothing to do with endorsing President Museveni and the majority of the women, who then proceeded to meet the President at Rwakitura on May 20, were not members of the NRM Women’s league executive.
Ms Mbabazi was absent at the NRM Women league’s press conference, although she is the group’s chairperson. Ms Phoebe Otaala, the NRM Women league national vice chairperson, said Ms Mbabazi would arrive anytime.
However, this was in stark contradiction to a statement by Ms Christine Muhindo, the Women League’s deputy national treasurer. She told Sunday Monitor after the press conference that Ms Mbabazi had been contacted several times to attend their meetings but she did not.
Ms Mbabazi not cooperative?
“Ms Mbabazi does not answer our calls. We invited her to attend the meeting where we endorsed the Kyankwanzi resolutions at Lake View Hotel in Mbarara and she did not show up. On that same day, May 20, we met the President, she still did not join us,” said Ms Muhindo.
Asked why Ms Mbabazi had not signed the resolution, Ms Jacquline Amongin claimed that she (Ms Mbabazi) was out of the country. However, Ms Mbabazi refuted the claim.
The five NRM Women league members at the press conference did not show the press a copy of their resolution bearing signatures of those who had endorsed. However, they showed the list of the attendees of the Lake View Hotel and their telephone contacts.
Commenting on the women’s meeting with Mr Museveni, Ms Beatrice Lagada, said they only made a “memo” supporting the resolution as executive members of the women’s league.
“As members of the executive of the Women’s League, we gave him our support . We never had the mandate to commit the Women’s League without consulting our people. I represent the women of northern Uganda on the league and I have never consulted them. We agreed that we needed to go and consult them first,” she said.
Ms Lagada further said; “The President kept asking that do you have the mandate of the other women and we said no. We agreed to consult the women first even as Ms Amongin insisted the women were consulted by the Women MPs.”
Ms Lagada said Ms Mbabazi was not invited to the Rwakitura and Lake View Hotel meetings.
“Ms Christine Muhindo said she had not invited her. We were actually nine people because Ms Susan Muhwezi did not join us since she reportedly had a sick person she was attending to that day,” she said.
In March this year, the party MPs and the President accused Ms Mbabazi of fomenting intrigue within the NRM and abusing her position as chairperson of the Women’s League to build a power base for her husband’s perceived presidential ambitions for 2016. She denied the accusations.