Ruranga could not hand over FDC to Museveni, so he handed over himself
Posted Sunday, November 3 2013 at 00:00
The news of Major Rubaramira Ruranga’s return to the NRM found me in the newsroom last week. I first doubted it, but did not dismiss it either.
Given my long time interaction with Ruranga and from what I assumed I had known about him, I told the reporter to double-check the story lest it is an exciting political prank. She told me that although Ruranga had declined to deny or confirm the defection, his tone and response pointed to one conclusion – defection. The reporter added that he admitted meeting the President at the latter’s country home in Rwakitura, but that he was cagey to comment on his alleged return to the NRM, insisting the meeting was about fighting HIV/Aids.
This struck me. Why was Ruranga cagey? I had known Ruranga as a bold man who would not hesitate to flatly dismiss such a claim if it was false. But here he was sitting on the fence. His deliberate silence on the allegation implied there was something amiss. Nevertheless, I gave Ruranga a benefit of doubt. After a brief discussion with my colleagues, we concluded that his caginess on the allegation pointed to a conspiracy to conceal some truth. We decided to run the story based on his own words as we waited for the full truth.
However, by day break the following morning all doubt had been removed. Rubaramira had defected back to NRM, claiming to have gone to fight HIV/Aids with Museveni.
What was more intriguing was his futile clarification; that he did not defect from FDC because he had long left the party in 2007 due to lack of democracy, internal intrigues and lack of transparency.
For some of us who have interacted with Rubaramira for a while, this was rather surprising.
In 2011, I spent an evening with Rubaramira. We discussed many things including politics. During our chat, I asked him why he was no longer active in the FDC activities. Rubaramira told me he had been in political struggles since the bush war days and was getting old. He said he did not want to be like Museveni who had overstayed in power and refused to leave politics for the young generation. He said he had done enough in growing the FDC into a formidable party and it was time he left to allow young blood a chance to lead FDC.
I am now surprised to hear Ruranga claim that he had left FDC because the secretary general Alice Alaso had hijacked the party and the party had no structures. He was the FDC electoral commission chairman and organized several elections of the party leadership. If there were no grassroots structures, what structures was he using to organise the party elections?
I don’t know which truth Ruranga would now want Ugandans to take; the one that he left FDC to allow young blood to lead the party or that he left FDC after losing trust in the party leadership? Two opposite statements can’t be true. One must be false or even both.
During my various conversations with Ruranga, he would swear how he would never work with tormentors and ungrateful people like Museveni again. I have no qualms about that because it is a remark many people have made and reneged on. What is more intriguing is what he said about Museveni. He told me how Museveni is a heartless man who has no remorse for people with HIV/Aids. Ruranga was referring to the President’s claim in an interview with CNN in the run-up to the 2001 elections that his challenger Dr Kizza Besigye had HIV and the electorate would waste their vote if they elected him president.
Rubaramira also told me how Museveni was using HIV/Aids as a tool to torment his political opponents. He told me how Museveni’s henchman, the then Chief of Military Intelligence, the late Brig Noble Mayombo, had gone to extract a treason confession from Rubaramira’s friend, who was in Luzira prison, by threatening to keep him in jail until he died unless he capitulated and received a presidential pardon. That friend was on anti-retroviral treatment and remaining in jail would mean lack of access to ARVs, which would accelerate the progression of Aids and his eventual death.
Rubaramira is now telling us that the same Museveni is his best ally in fighting HIV/Aids. What a contradiction! The Baganda say “tuswalekko” (let’s have some logical judgement).
Then Ruranga ridiculed Gen David Tinyefuza and the late Eriya Kategaya for reneging on their earlier principled stand never to return to NRM to work with Museveni. He broke into rapturing laughter and rolled off his seat. Today Ruranga and Tinyefuza alias Sejusa are heading in opposite directions.
Ruranga must have personal reasons that drove him back to the NRM. The claims he gives sound as mere distractions.
FDC strongman Nandala Mafabi must be more embarrassed than disturbed. Ruranga was head of his campaigns for the party presidency last year. He claimed that Mafabi’s rival, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, was an NRM mole who would hand over the party to Museveni. With hindsight now, one can easily hazard out who would hand over the FDC to Museveni? It would appear that having failed to get the chance to hand over FDC to Museveni, Ruranga decided to hand over himself instead.