Ugandans don’t want me to leave - Museveni

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President says if Ugandans didn’t want him anymore, he would be happy to retire

President Museveni has blamed his failure to retire on Ugandans who keep re-electing him after every five years when his term expires.

He said each time he seeks to go home, Ugandans keep voting him back thus denying him the opportunity to retire.

The President made the remarks while appearing on Capital FM’s Capital Gang talk show on Saturday. He was responding to a question by Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda who challenged him to give Ugandans a Christmas gift by announcing the date when he will retire, just like Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga promised Ugandans she will ensure passing of the anti-homosexuality Bill before Christmas.

“Well, I don’t think Ugandans are as obsessed with my retirement as Ssemujju seems to be because when I go to ask them at the elections, five million say don’t go, you stay,” he said.

“You have heard them, singing tajakugenda tajakugenda (he won’t go). So if Ugandans really were like Ssemujju, I would be happy to retire because I am not lacking where to retire. I am a member of my party and I do what my party wants,” the President added.

After the President narrated the history of the NRM’s ideology, Bugweri County MP Abdul Katuntu challenged him to explain whether the current rift in the ruling party pitting the secretary general against him as the chairman was not caused by a power contest rather than ideological differences. Mr Museveni said he has been in power for 28 years and claimed he is not interested in power.

Museveni replied in a stammering voice attracting giggles from Mr Katuntu and Ssemujju who teased him on his honesty. “I don’t need power as a person. Power for what?” he asked.

The President, who was in a jovial mood and patiently listened to the panellists, steered clear of discussing the sacking of former prime minister Amama Mbabazi which political commentators have attributed to his perceived presidential ambition in 2016.

Ssemujju said: “The Namboole delegates’ conference is a meeting to ratify a coup by you Mr President on your party. It is to crucify Mbabazi. In this democracy which you are talking about is where Amama is being hounded from his own party.”

The President shot back, “Well I don’t know your love for Mbabazi. I have known Mbabazi for as long as you have lived, so leave issues of Mbabazi to us who know him.”

After listing his party’s achievements, the President was asked to comment on how sustainable these are, citing the scenarios in Libya and Egypt which led to the collapse of the respective regimes.
Museveni reasoned that whereas Libya did not have competitive politics, Egypt’s failure was caused by foreign interference.

“Even 50 years from now Uganda will not collapse. We have got a powerful cadreship. Why should it collapse? Forget about that and do other things. You don’t know the sort of people you are talking about,” Museveni reassured.

Museveni defended his family’s involvement in state affairs. He said his wife, the minister for Karamoja and son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the commander of the Special Forces Command were justifiably appointed.

“She has done a very good job. I had more important battles to fight than fight my wife who was supported by her area. I didn’t want her [Janet] to be involved in controversy but people in her area and herself demanded. She got the biggest winning margin in the whole country. People didn’t want to go to Karamoja, she is the one who suggested that I take her there,” Museveni defended his wife’s appointment to Cabinet.

Commenting on the embattled East African Legislative Assembly speaker Margaret Zziwa, the President blamed her woes on the “childish, infertile and petty” nature of Uganda’s representatives.

He said they will have to answer for it and proposed that maturity be factored before a Ugandan is sent to the regional assembly. He also revealed that an engineering monitoring unit had been set up at State House to check corruption in the roads sector following the Katosi road scam in which government was fleeced billions of shillings.