After a long social media struggle, President Yoweri Museveni has finally won back his rival, Amama Mbabazi’s youth thanks to the clandestine work of presidential aides.
NRM Poor Youth Forum members Wednesday gathered at Silver Springs hotel in Bugolobi.
On their sleeve was a move to break away from Mbabazi who they accuse of abandoning the ruling party and standing as independent.
The meeting saw police and military police cordon off the hotel.
When journalists showed up to cover the event, the youth stormed out of the meeting unceremoniously.
Police moved in came and arrested some of them at gate thinking they had committed some crimes inside the hotel.
They were later released on realising the misunderstanding.
Youth return to Museveni
At the close of their meeting, the youth addressed press about their final verdict.
Led by the NRM Poor youth coordinator for Nakawa, Dennis Kato, Secretary, Twaha Jungo, and a one Onesmus George Mutumba, the youth said they were breaking ties with their presidential candidate, Amama.
The source who attended the conference saw most of NRM youth members including one popular girl who was seen in pictures being manhandled at the American embassy early in the year.
Richard Kiryekyankuba and Vincent Kaggwa, also JPAM supporters who reportedly wrote a letter denouncing Amama were not part of the gathering.
Other prominent NRM Poor Youth Forum members like Isa Kato, the known National Coordinator, Adam Luzindana, the chairman, were not part of the meeting either.
The leaders of the defector group said since Mbabazi had decided to stand for presidency as an independent, they cannot follow suit.
“We will stay in NRM and support Museveni.”
They said Museveni is the NRM party chairman and they can’t go against the party constitution to support an independent, Amama.
Amama announced on the same day Museveni picked nomination forms that he was standing outside NRM.
Early this week, he picked nomination forms from the Electoral Commission headquarters along Jinja road to stand as an independent.
The youth defecting today follows an incident last week, when youth calling themselves NRM 24/7 stormed Mbabazi’s Kololo home accusing him of promising them jobs and money and then failing to deliver.
A battle broke out as pro-Amama youth drove them out with sticks and stones.
Three of the youth wearing President Yoweri Museveni T-shirts were injured in the process.
Luzindana accuses Tumukunde, Tumwebaze, Nakalema of tricking Amama youth
After the attack on Amama home, JPAM team accused senior spy Brig Henry Tumukunde, of “hiring thugs” to do the job.
JPAM team claimed 80 crime preventers were paid by Brig Tumukunde Shs 100,000 each, part of the alleged mouth-watering Shs 500bn Museveni gave the spy to neutralise opposition.
Luzindana today added minister for Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, the President’s Private Secretary, Maj Edith Nakalema, and Museveni’s personal assistant, Molly Kamukama, to complete the group that cornered Amama youth in Bugolobi.
Luzindana told us that Brig Tumukunde, Major Nakalema, Tumwebaze and Kamukama sent out messages inviting poor youth members to attend a wealth creation meeting at Silver Spring Hotel Bugolobi.
When the youth entered the room, Kamukama presented to them a press statement and told them to read in front of cameras.
Here is Luzindana’s audio:
“The boys refused…after sometime, regular police and military surrounded the hotel forcing the poor youth members to read the statement.”
He added: “Museveni is bitter that his henchmen have failed to finish off operations of NRM Poor Youth Forum yet he gave the group headed by Tumukunde Shs 3bn.”
Luzindana said NRM Poor Youth Forum which was founded to mobilise the poor and marginalised youth is fully committed to its cause.
“We are hopeful that our presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi is the next president of Uganda 2016. We shall never denounce Mbabazi,” Luzindana clarified.
“This is not our position-to denounce Mbabazi. We are mobilising across the country in districts, villages, small towns and all districts to defeat president Museveni. This is our mission. We have not deviated from it”.
Tumukunde buys off Amama youth in Kigezi?
Another report coming from Kigezi region says 200 members of Umoja Group, an association of Mbabazi’s supporters in Kabale district, also defected to Museveni after meeting former Tumukunde.
Umoja Group chairperson, Robert Kabareebe Kihembe, came under fire after remembers suspected he had received money from the spy before he was joined by other leaders including; Bruno Kukundakwe, Ronald Agaba and Robert Sendegaya.
The group accuses Mbabazi in-law, Hope Mwesigye, of rallying Members of Parliament in 2005 to change the Constitution of Uganda and remove term limits.
When we talked to insiders in Amama camp, they dismissed the report saying Amama youth were still behind him in the region.
Nonetheless, critics say, cracks are developing in a once solid Amama camp.