Kumi. Former prime minister and now presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi on Friday regretted his decision to support the removal of presidential term limits from the Constitution in 2005, which allowed President Museveni to stand for the presidency as many times as he wishes.
Mr Mbabazi said the decision has condemned the country to being led by one man.
He was one of the MPs who supported the removal of the two five-year term limits on the presidency from the Constitution in 2005.
Legislators were paid Shs5m each to support the removal of the term limits although some rejected the inducement.
A total of 222 MPs, including Mr Mbabazi overwhelmingly voted to remove the term limits, a decision that infuriated many NRM liberal MPs, including Augustine Ruzindana, Amanya Mushega, Miria Matembe, John Kazoora, the late Sam Juba and Eriya Kategaya to break away from the ruling NRM.
“Although I fought for the removal of term limits, I am now changed and a better person. In my first term in office, we shall restore the two-term limits in the Constitution,” Mr Mbabazi said on Friday.
The Go-Forward candidate was addressing a rally in Kobwin Sub-county in Ngora District in Teso sub-region on Friday. He added that he is running for President to correct the NRM wrongs.
Mr Mbabazi said it was wrong for one man to think he can think for everyone.
“We shed a lot of blood in the past to change governments and that blood was not for the leaders, but rather the ordinary people. People are tired of bloodshed that is why this time we want to change government peacefully for the first time,” he told the rally.
Mr Mbabazi, who worked with President Museveni for nearly 30 years and served in various capacities in his government, also preached reviving the collapsed government institutions.
“What we want is to restore institutions that work and are able to deliver services to the people. These institutions must be legally established, defined under law; that is the only way we can ensure that everyone is treated equally,” Mr Mbabazi said.
He described the high level of poverty in Teso as a result of bad government policies that are not well thought out.
He said President Museveni is continuously recycling poverty eradication programmes by giving them new names every five years and injecting huge sums of money, but without changing their character or producing tangible results on the ground.
“The President denounced Naads recently but it was his idea. Then there was all the others, PEAP1 (Poverty Eradication Action Plan), PEAP II up to PEAP 10, then Entandikwa, Bona Bagagawale and now Operation Wealth Creation...But it is just the English translation of all others that we had before,” Mr Mbabazi said.
“All these problems that have been perpetual can be fixed. But going forward, we have a solution,” he added.
Meanwhile, heavily-armed police blocked Mr Mbabazi from visiting the monument for victims of the NRA at Mukura in Ngora District on Friday.
The presidential candidate was on his way from Soroti heading to Ngora before proceeding to Kumi and Bukedea districts.
He said he had intended to lay a wreath at the mass grave of 87 people who were suffocated by government soldiers in a train wagon at Mukura railway station in 1989 after they were locked up in a container on suspicion that they were rebels.
“I wanted to pay my respect to the sons and daughters of this country who lost their lives in Mukura because of the senseless wars but police was deployed at the monument for days to stop me,” Mr Mbabazi said.
Reported by Frederic Musisi, Joseph Onyango & Richard Otim