NRM historical also Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, has asked former NRM Secretary General, Amama Mbabazi, to return the party card and run as an independent without being inconvenienced.
Otafiire told Sunday Monitor in an interview that Amama holding onto the NRM card yet he is running for president as an independent is contrary to NRM rules and regulations put in place while he was secretary general of the party.
He denied ever saying that Ugandans should only consider Mbabazi president when some of them [historicals] are dead.
“No, I was misquoted,” Otafiire interjected, “there are people who don’t speak Runyankore and want to interpret Runyankore instead of getting us who speak the language to render the message correctly. I never said it would be over my dead body.”
He added: “I meant that Mbabazi should wait for us to die, those of us who know his childhood then he can start deceiving the public about himself.
Otafiire, however, agreed that Amama doesn’t measure equally with President Museveni in terms of “endurance during the war”.
“I have also seen him during peace time as President. I have been able to test his tolerance, his ability to withstand pain and pressure which I don’t see in Mbabazi.”
“I have seen Museveni capable of expressing emotion which I don’t see in Mbabazi because he doesn’t express anger, pleasure, dissatisfaction and people think he is cool. No! Leaders are human beings capable of being angry, annoyed, losing temper; you don’t stay cool all the time unless there is something insidious inside you, something missing.”
While he agreed they [historicals] were reaching the upper limit of their “middle age”, Otafiire said Mbabazi was not too old to be president.
“I am 64 and by all standards 64 is not very old. I am still capable of rendering service for the next 10-15 years. Yes, Mbabazi is not too old to be president; he is still capable of rendering service for the next 15-20 years.”
Otafiire, however, insists Museveni would still perform better than Mbabazi, citing his [Amama] inability to deliver in bush days where he failed to procure medicine for sick soldiers.
Denying having something personal against Amama, Otafiire also acknowledged that the “2010 elections in Namboole were not the fairest”.
“I ran against him for SG [secretary general] but because I put party interests over personal interests, I just ate humble pie and submitted to the results and the party went on.”
The minister was asked whether he would salute Mbabazi if he became president and he replied: “Yes! Why not? He would be a result of the decision of the people of Uganda. When he becomes president we shall salute him, that will be the legitimate decision of Ugandans and we shall respect it but I hope they will not make that mistake.”
Otafiire denied any knowledge of Museveni-Mbabazi fallout saying, “that Mbabazi has decided to challenge the President is not a fallout.”
He said NRM is a democratic party, in a democratic country under a democratic dispensation, “so Mbabazi challenging the President doesn’t mean they have fallen out”.
“Our party constitution allows it so he committed no crime. I only question his going Independent because if he wanted to challenge the chairman he should have done so in the party.”
As for 2016, he thinks Museveni would accept defeat and even “fall in and campaign for Mbabazi were he to defeat him at the delegates’ conference”.
He, in conclusion, denied having engaged in illegalities to remove Mbabazi from the Secretary General position at the Namboole delegates conference.