Yet another faction has emerged in the already divided ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] party.
You already know the NRM Poor Youth Forum that supports Amama Mbabazi, but this new group dubbed: “Youth For National Salvation [YONASA]” is not allied to any presidential candidate.
The group which is opposed to President Yoweri Museveni’s overstay in power, says it aims at a general national salvation of Ugandans.
Two weeks old now, Yonasa is chaired by David Kabanda and his colleague Shakur Walusimbi.
In an interesting twist, it emerged that Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, was the patron of Yonasa.
Winds of misfortune have been blowing wildly in the minister’s direction.
It all started with his October 2015 defeat and loss of NRM flag bearer to Capt Kahonda Donozio who was in jail then.
Otafiire petitioned NRM chairman, Tanga Odoi, citing election fraud but his petition was quashed on account of lack of evidence.
The minister rushed to Mbarara High Court to block the nomination of Kahonda as NRM flag bearer for Ruhinda county in Mitooma district but his application did not amounted to anything.
Dejected, Otafiire then chose to run as an independent warning that Tanga would collapse the ruling party or it would ruin itself if it dared expel independents.
We talked to the minister to confirm whether he was the patron to a group opposed to the NRM party chairman.
“What group is that? Yonasa? I am a patron to very many groups. So, what is your problem with Yonasa,” he pointed out.
We reminded the minister that this particular group was denouncing Museveni for suffocating internal democracy within NRM.
“Then I can’t be a patron of such a group,” he cut in.
“If they don’t support Museveni, then am not their patron. Nnh! [laughs] my candidate is Yoweri Museveni, he is the one I support and he is the one am going to campaign for in the coming elections.”
Otafiire concluded thus: “If they don’t support him [Museveni], then they should have looked for another patron by yesterday.”
Initial reports showed that the Chieftaincy Military Intelligence [CMI] was investigating the group on allegations of being involved in rebel activities.
The group was reportedly working with former coordinator of intelligence services, Gen David Sejusa, to “recruit rebels in rural areas”.
Sejusa rose to fame in 2013 when he authored a document titled: “Muhoozi Project” in which he asked security to investigate a plot to kill senior army generals and government officials.
This, according to him, was an elimination method for those who opposed an alleged plan by Museveni to groom Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to succeed him as president.
Sejusa rushed to exile in UK and later returned to start a liberation struggle at home under his Free Uganda political party.
The whisper indicated that Yonasa members; Kabanda and Shakur, met Sejusa a day or so back in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb.
The details of the meeting that allegedly took place at night in an undisclosed location, are still unknown.
We were unable to get Sejusa on phone for a comment on the alleged meeting.
There are also claims that the group even wrote to the US ambassador in Uganda.
When the Insider contacted Kabanda, the youth denied the accusations saying their group [which is now two weeks old] was being framed by government spies.
“Sejusa? Shaah! I have never seen him face to face,” Kabanda shot out.
“Some people are trying to use Bakahumura [Brig. Charles Bakahumura, the CMI boss] to implicate us.”
Kabanda was not done yet: “Bytheway, is Sejusa a rebel? Why don’t they arrest him?”
Kabanda said “security people” didn’t know what they were saying because “I think even Sejusa has never seen me face to face and the same to me because I have never seen him face to face”.
CMI boss trashes claims
We talked to Brig Bakahumura who dismissed the allegation as a lie.
“That [investigating Yonasa youth] is not true. I am actually hearing it from you for the first time.”
The Brigadier insisted there was no such a case on his desk.
“Those are people trying to fabricate their own stories for personal reasons,” he concluded.
Work of spies?
Herbert Anderson, who works as Yonasa Publicity, says he has it on “undisputed authority” that “opportunists and masqueraders” had filed a case against Yonasa implicating the group in criminal, war acts and treason charges.
He said this was “not true” but the handwork of “political and security amateurs” Molly Kamukama [Museveni’s political assistant], Janet Anyine [new deputy of External Security Organisation] and her personal assistant, Hassan Mukiibi.
Anderson claims that accusers [Anyine and Mukiibi, all former NRM poor youth allied to Amama Mbabazi] already have a Judge who will charge YONASA members with treason.
He urged the CMI director, Brig. Bakahumura, to study the situation carefully.
He says as a one Buntu Enock has been “paid” by Molly [because of her differences with Kabanda who heads the group] to allege that YONASA met Sejusa for recruitment purposes.
Kamukama distances self
When contacted, Museveni’s political assistant, Kamukama denied the allegation that she reported the group to CMI.
Kamukama, who is currently in the field canvassing votes for her boss, told The Insider she did not have time for such “crap”.
“Why would I report anyone to CMI? It is not a police institution. CMI’s role is to investigate and if they [YONASA members] are involved [in rebel activities], CMI would be more interested than me.”
Kamukama denied being an opportunist saying she was personally appointed by the President to work for and on his behalf as the NRM chairman.
“Those boys are rubbing things the wrong way. By questioning my appointment, they attack the chairman [Museveni] directly. Bytheway, I am the only one with that appointment.
She continued: “They don’t know who I am or where the president got me from.”
She accused NRM Poor Youth chairman, Adam Luzindana, of peddling lies about her.
“I know Luzindana heads that group [Yonasa]. I don’t want these young boys to destroy the trust I have built over years.”
When contacted, Luzindana, denied all links with Yonasa saying it was State House peddling information that he headed the group.
“She [Kamukama] is a liar. I am not a member or even chair of Yonasa.”
Yonasa denounces candidates
On December 8, 2015, “Yonasa Movement” met in Kampala and resolved not to support any Presidential candidate in the February 2016 elections.
“We shall continue with agitating for internal democracy within NRM and to condemn promoting President Museveni personally other than the party,” they resolved.
Shakur Walusimbi Isaac, the Secretary General Yonasa said their group is not a rebel group as it is being alleged by some “selfish actors who want to extort money from the President”.
Members of its High Command include; David Kabanda [chair], Shakur Walusimbi [SG], Anderson Herbert [publicity], Mukembo, Custer Kats, Pinto Hamwada, Ariho Mark, Seruyinda William, Komaketch Julius and Onenechan Patrick.
Their lawyers are; Counsel John Teira and Counsel Kiryowa Andrew.
The group says it has 3 main objectives; revamping NRM, building the foundation for the young generation so that we can be able to have other presidents under NRM after President Museveni and giving direction to president Museveni to stop promoting himself instead of the Party and to stop working informally when the party structures are in place.
Anderson who doubles as the group’s spokesperson says they are in disagreement “with almost 80% of how NRM as political Party conducts its business”.
The group disagrees 99% “of how the Chairman of NRM H.E Y.K. Museveni who has handled the matters of the party as a family company”.
“No one has any authority to execute any decision except him, not even the constitution can guide him due to the fact that where he has interest he is always bound to bend the law and work outside the jurisdiction of the Constitution,” Anderson says.
They are also angry at Museveni’s “unconstitutional” disqualification of his son-in-law, Odrek Rwabwogo, from the race for NRM vice chairperson for western region, “with no legal grounds”.
“Up-to-date we are wondering what Procedure did Museveni’s Central Executive Committee [CEC] use to disqualify the too ambitious and result oriented Rwabwogo?”
The group also accuses Museveni of “unconstitutionally stampeding the constitutional structures and appointing his friends to facilitate them in the name of National Task Force to mobilize for his Campaigns sidelining the legally constituted Structures elected by party members”.
“Yonasa is here to see this coming to an end as the young people we need to advocate the end of such mischiefs and if the status quo is to remain then some of us are willing look for the exit.”
The group further claims Museveni solely creates various independent offices outside the Party’s recommendation to run Party activities with divergent modules from the party positions.
“Beside this being illegal it is an act of individualism and one man can’t create rules in the house that supposedly belongs to everyone. These acts must stop as weneed restoration of sanity to our party from the claimed supreme leaders.”
Why national salvation
The idea of national salvation, argues Anderson, stems from the fact that leadership in Uganda is not about citizens but the competition of who is stronger.
“Mbabazi is trying to improve his curriculum vitae [CV] while Kizza Besigye is trying to prove to Museveni that 30 years are many years and his popularity has dropped henceforth Museveni is using the status quo to continue enjoying the privilege.”
He said in the long run, Ugandans continue to suffer consequences of being on the battlefield under which the fighting forces are leaning.
He said the same goes for Democratic Party Youths who are disgruntled after the top party leadership led by Mr. Mao Norbert decided to trade the Party with Mbabazi’s The Democratic Alliance-Go Forward [TDA-GF] while the other faction led by Erias Lukwago merged with Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change [FDC].