The First Lady and Ruhaama County MP, Ms Janet Kataaha Museveni, has explained why she has decided to retire from politics and rejected passionate calls for her to stay and seek a third term in 2016.
She told her political assistants, confidants and elders on Wednesday that she will not stand for re-election in 2016 because she has accomplished her duties.
Saturday Monitor has established that Ms Museveni first disclosed her retirement from politics to her close confidants at her home in Irenga village, Kikoni parish, Ntungamo Sub-county on Wednesday morning.
She later announced publicly at a meeting with LC3 chairpersons, NRM party chairpersons, elders and opinion leaders from Ruhaama County on Thursday.
Sources who attended the meeting at her home said the First Lady rejected impassioned pleas by some of the leaders urging her to stay on in politics.
The sources said Ms Museveni stood her ground and told them she would not reverse her decision.
“I made a decision before I invited you here; I knew you would say this and that, but I am not coming to stand again. I know you still like me, but I do not reverse my decisions because you have said I should do,” a source quoted Ms Museveni as telling the meeting.
Refuses to name successor
Some leaders asked her to name her successor but she rejected this request too. She told them she wanted to leave that decision to the people of Ruhaama to make.
“I can’t come here to tell you who to elect. If I do that, people will say ‘this is the person she left us!’ But I believe the one chosen will be the representative for Ruhaama that you would have chosen,” Ms Museveni is quoted to have said.
However, she agreed to a call by Ruhaama Sub-county chairman, Mr Tom Rwomushana, to have another meeting to discuss qualities of a person to succeed her and that the successor would keep in touch with her for greater benefit of the constituents.
“I thanked her for leading well and not leaving like some other leaders (who are forced out); leaving when you still have a strong reputation,” Mr Rwomushana told Saturday Monitor after the meeting.
The sources said Ms Museveni told the meeting that she would send out a press statement and announce on radio her departure from politics.
Mr George Bakunda, her political assistant, confirmed the meetings and said the Ruhaama County MP shocked them because nobody expected her to announce her retirement at this time.
The Ntungamo FDC chairperson, Mr George Karamira, said the First Lady’s exit is not big news to the party.
Her political career in brief
Ms Museveni, who is also the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, was elected Ruhaama county MP in 2006 defeating Mr Augustine Ruzindana, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party secretary for Research who had represented the constituency first in the Constituent Assembly as a delegate in 1994 and in Parliament from 1996-2006.
Ms Museveni was later appointed State minister for Karamoja Affairs after the 2011 elections.
Ms Museveni again beat Mr Ruzindana to the seat in 2011. She was subsequently appointed full Cabinet minister for Karamoja Affairs.
Her first tenure as MP was without any hullaballoo from the voters. However, during her second term she came under intense pressure and criticism from the electorate over wanting performance in service delivery through the Eishazi rya Ruhaama (Ruhaama forum), a platform that reviews leaders’ performance and lobbies for better service delivery.
They have been castigating her for not living up to the hype of bringing improved service delivery which was her mantra during her election campaigns.
They claim she failed to improve healthcare and that health facilities are short of medical personnel and other requirements.
They also blame her for not improving education standards in the constituency, especially in UPE schools, failing to reconcile squabbling leaders in the district and inability to ensure tarmacking of Ntungamo-Mirama Hill Road which was promised 20 years ago. In April 2013, Ms Museveni resigned as the chairperson of the Ntungamo District Roads Committee citing a heavy workload.
She, however, lobbied for the acquisition of the district road unit from donors, brought Living Water International, an NGO which constructed more than 1,000 protected water sources in Ruhaama. Ms Museveni is also credited for lobbying for construction of bridges such as Rwamwire and Bakyokyeza.
She lobbied donors to establish new structures at eight primary schools including Kabuhome, Itojo Central, Nyakika and Rwamire, Rweikiniro and Mama Janet Girls’ SS, Nyakyera. She is credited for extending electricity to most remote parts of the constituency.