Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi’s statement published in the Sunday Monitor of March 9 offers several interesting insights into the current state of the Museveni/ NRM regime. Most of what Ms Mbabazi says simply confirms what many of us who left the “NRM” have pointed out for many years and vindicates our determination to stop the Museveni/ NRM misrule.
Ms Mbabazi confirms that their family has been under close surveillance. I can make an informed guess that this must have started or intensified from the time Amama Mbabazi was (re)elected as NRM Secretary General in 2010. Mr Museveni was comfortable with a hard-working, loyal and unpopular Mbabazi.
This comfort afforded Mr Mbabazi the opportunity to be one of the secret “fundraisers” for the Museveni political machinery and one of the main dispensers of patronage. It would appear that Mr Museveni did not realise early enough that Mr Mbabazi used his advantaged position to rent support for himself.
Mr Museveni was rudely awakened to Mbabazi’s scheme of building his own patronage networks during the 2010 election for NRM Secretary General. Mr Museveni first tried to stop Mbabazi from getting elected. However, he realised how strongly Mbabazi had marshalled his patronage networks, on the one hand, and the “unsuitability” of the alternatives in the race, on the other.
Mbabazi was the incumbent SG and used it to influence and manipulate the National Delegates’ Conference. Mr Museveni, then, chose to tactically support him. Mr Mbabazi had clearly established a source of legitimacy outside Mr Museveni’s direct control. This is where Mr Mbabazi crossed the danger line!
From this point, Mr Museveni set out to ensure that Mbabazi relinquishes the office of NRM Secretary General. Ms Mbabazi’s warning to the youth mobiliser that “‘Afande Teargas’ (General Kale Kayihura) would attack them with tear gas if they organised the next conference in Kampala” is a chilling confession of how police are perceived; even by the leader of NRM Womens’ League! The police, under Gen Kayihura, works in the same way as the dogs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm!
Mr Museveni has used the NRM Parliamentary Caucus to endorse himself as the sole presidential candidate and to push the SG out of office in violation of the NRM constitution.
MPs are elected by voters from any political party and those without any political affiliation. Therefore, MPs are leaders in government sponsored by NRM, but they are not NRM officials. This is why it’s wrong to remove an MP from Parliament once the sponsoring party dismisses him from its membership.
On the other hand, NRM constitution provides for organs, such as the Central Executive Committee, the National Executive Committee and the National Delegates’ Conference with specific roles that cover what Mr Museveni was using the Parliamentary caucus to do.
While Mr Mbabazi was being rebuked in Kyankwanzi for stirring “disharmony” and undermining NRM “cohesion” by his early campaign activities in the “wrong forum”, an MP was soliciting for signatures to endorse Museveni as the sole candidate for the same election. A resolution declaring him as such was passed in the “wrong forum” as he beamed with a wide smile!
A ministry that was formed to run the Office of NRM Secretary General, Ministry in charge of “Mobilisation”, was endorsed; even as the substantive SG “remains in office”.
What Ms Mbabazi didn’t say was that their financial interests have been under attack. A bank in which Mr Mbabazi had substantial interest was “grabbed” from the owners in a typical mafia operation.
In her statement, Ms Mbabazi made an interesting judgement that the “NRM Kyankwanzi retreat and these last two NRM Parliamentary Caucus meetings have exposed fascist tendencies within the NRM party”. My first impression was that she had used the term “fascist” in a pejorative way; to express contempt and disapproval of what had been done and the way it was done.
On further reflection, however, I think that the politics of Mr Museveni and his “NRM”, in a large measure, actually typify the fascist ideology and leadership.
Mr Museveni’s preoccupation with his Ankole pastoralist “culture” and his deliberate and concerted effort to promote it into the Ugandan and international discourse, as being superior to others, is a core component of the fascist ideology.
A fascist leader was an embodiment of the state and exercised indisputable power. Challenging the leader was tantamount to challenging the state!
Do we have a fully-fledged fascist leader in Uganda? Have the Mbabazis been helping build a neo-fascist party? As they ponder these questions, I once again invite Mr and Ms Mbabazi and all those in the “NRM” who may be unknowingly propping up a dangerous monster to withdraw and link up with freedom and democracy-seeking organisations and formations to liberate Uganda.
Dr Besigye is the former Forum for Democratic Change president.