Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the wife of embattled Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, has fired back at the NRM, saying the conduct of the party caucus towards her and her husband reflects repression within the ruling party.
“I must say that the NRM Kyankwanzi retreat and these last two NRM parliamentary caucus meetings have exposed fascist tendencies within the NRM party. What is obvious is that Hon Mbabazi is a target of orchestrated cliques and groups,” Ms Mbabazi said.
“I find the entire spirit of that sitting of the NRM parliamentary caucus to have contravened the NRM constitution that requires us to farther the principles of transparency, accountability, integrity and consensus building,” Ms Mbabazi said.
She refuted allegations leveled against her by the NRM caucus during the meeting with President Museveni at State House Entebbe this week.
Ms Mbabazi is the chairperson of the NRM Women’s League.
She also promised to continue to stand by her husband whenever he is being unfairly treated.
Ms Mbabazi was this week accused by the NRM Members of Parliament and the President of fomenting intrigue in the party as well as misusing her position as chairperson of the party’s Women’s League to build a power base for her husband’s alleged presidential ambitions. She denied the claim.
In a 1,000-word statement released to the press on Saturday, Ms Mbabazi said as a cadre who had been part of the struggle for the liberation of Uganda since the 1970s and had remained loyal to the principles of the Movement, she was disappointed by the events at Kyankwanzi and State House at which the parliamentary caucus mistreated her husband.
She added that as a member of the highest party organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), there are channels through which this matter should have been discussed rather than taking it to the “parliamentary caucus whose only function in the NRM Constitution is to discuss matters concerning Parliament”.
Ms Mbabazi acknowledged that the President raised many of the issues that came up in the Caucus with her at a meeting between herself and Mr Museveni at State House Nakasero on the February 25. She described the meeting as cordial and that she had clarified to the President all the issues.
She said she had told the president that the stories he was getting about her and her husband “were overrated and false intelligence” and that they agreed to have a follow up meeting which she is still waiting for.
Last week, the Daily Monitor reported that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi had seen his authority as ruling party secretary general reduced after MPs agreed to shift some of his responsibilities to a junior minister. According to the NRM Caucus spokesperson, Ms Evelyn Anite, the Prime Minister was relieved of exercising direct control over the party as the secretary general through a caucus resolution in Entebbe.
A much-younger Mr Richard Todwong, presently minister without portfolio in the Office of the President (for political mobilisation), will carry out the functions until the next party elections in 2015.
However, Mr Mbabazi refuted claims that he may have been dropped as secretary general. He maintained that the parliamentary caucus had no power to remove him from the post.
In a statement on Friday, President Museveni also refuted reports of replacement of Amama Mbabazi as NRM Secretary General, arguing the resolutions passed by ruling party MPs during the two-day meeting at State House Entebbe were not formal and are therefore not binding.
Ms mababazi’s full statement
At a meeting held at State House Nakasero on the 25th February, 2014, between myself and His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, we had cordial discussions about the following under-listed issues. This meeting arose out of what the President described as intelligence reports received concerning;
1. A list of Party leaders in my own handwriting which was in his possession.
2. Invitation of some NRM mobilisers to my parents thanksgiving function two years ago.
3. Mobilising for my husband for President 2016.
4. A recording of myself talking to two youths.
5. My alleged meetings with various opinion leaders, political leaders and influential personalities in different districts.
This is the meeting that His Excellency was talking about during the 3rd March, 2014 sitting of NRM parliamentary caucus, where I was not in attendance.
First of all, I would like to state that I have been in the struggle for the liberation of Uganda since the 1970s. I have been a loyal member to the principles of the Movement and remain so. I find the entire spirit of that sitting of the NRM parliamentary caucus to have contravened the NRM Constitution that requires us to farther the principles of transparency, accountability, integrity and consensus building.
As a member of the highest party organ Central Executive Committee (CEC), we have our own channel of communication and therefore this matter should not have found its way to the parliamentary caucus whose only function in the NRM Constitution is to discuss matters concerning Parliament.
I would like to make the following statement to clarify on these issues that have since been raised in the caucus.
With regard to mobilization for Mbabazi retention as Secretary General, the President presented a list in my handwriting which he said was proof of my activities. This list, I explained, was in relation to the Secretary General issue in which he openly opposed the idea of my husband holding the Secretary General seat. My position has been that we should not be selective and single out Hon. Amama Mbabazi as the only one to relinquish his position as Secretary General. Why him when other members of the Central Executive Committee are holding two or more posts? President Museveni assured me that he had intended to retain Mbabazi in the CEC, in one way or other.
In my view, to add a Prime Minister to the Central Executive Committee required a constitutional amendment which was never proposed. I took his view then as an effort to push an elected Secretary General out of the leadership of the Party.
President Museveni further accused me of taking mobilisers to my parents’ thanksgiving event. To this, I responded that there is nothing wrong with inviting friends to our family functions as it is the normal practice among members of the NRM.
On 2016 bid
There was also the matter of a petition that was circulating nationwide asking Hon Mbabazi to stand for President in 2016. I explained that I was not the originator of that document, but I had seen it.
President Museveni proceeded to play a recording which he said was of me abusing him that he has involved his family in politics. The recording I heard did not have any of this. Rather my recollection of the recording is that it was made at two different times, the first during the Zac Niringiye conference in Mbarara on January 25th this year and the second at my residence.
To put this in proper context regarding the alleged recording, I know of only that one that the President played for me. I admitted that it was my voice at the end of the recording but that the recording was doctored.
The first part of the tape is of a youth leader, speaking at the Niringiye conference, and the second half which should have been a separate recording of the conversation between myself and Mr Kawonawo obviously was added as a continuation. This I believe was done to imply that they were recorded on the same day at the same venue.
Mr Kawonawo explained that the youth had passed a resolution that stated that they thought Hon Mbabazi should lead the country come 2016. I warned him that Afande Teargas (General Kale Kayihura) would attack them with teargas if they organised the next conference in Kampala. True to form, the police through Felix Kaweesi have made a partisan statement this week so my concern about a teargas attack on the youth therefore could not be far from the truth.
For the record and emphasis, I did not attend that youth conference, rather it was Mr. Isaac Kawonawo (former Kabale district Youth League chairman) who came to me to inform me of another conference. He sat at my private residence balcony and he was carrying a recorder.
I am reliably informed that no recordings were played at the NRM parliamentary caucus meeting even though the media keeps alluding to this.
With regard to meeting various influential leaders, I gave the President the analogy of the stories told about him during the era of the bush days. This was when it was alleged that he would appear as a cat in one place, a veiled lady in another, etc. I commented that “Now I am afraid, I am the cat”. These stories were overrated and false intelligence. We agreed that we would have a follow up meeting to this and I am still waiting for this meeting.
I would like to say though of the NRM Kyankwanzi retreat and these last two NRM parliamentary caucus meetings that they have exposed fascist tendencies within the NRM party. What is obvious is that Hon Mbabazi is a target of orchestrated cliques and groups. Whereas they make an effort to make it appear like a spontaneous attack, it is blatantly obvious that it is not. I would therefore like to state quite clearly, that I will continue to defend Mbabazi, especially when I feel he is being unfairly targeted.
Chairperson NRM Women’s League