Unbelievable and improbable as it may sound, NRM historicals starting with Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza have vowed to support Amama Mbabazi to stand against President Yoweri Museveni come 2016 general elections.
The NRM vice chairperson for western Uganda says he will not support a plot by the NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) to block Mbabazi from standing on account that he is still a member of the ruling party and yet running on an independent ticket.
Adolf Mwesige, the head of the NRM legal team says much as Mbabazi has already picked nomination forms to contest as an independent presidential candidate he is still bound by the NRM party constitution as a member.
Mbabazi picked nomination forms on Monday and is scheduled to embark on a countrywide consultation tour and collect signatures from two-thirds of the districts as required by law.
According to Mwesige, the NRM constitution bars Mbabazi from contesting as independent since he is a registered member of the ruling party.
Historicals weigh in, support Amama
Kyaligonza says the former Secretary General should be allowed to do as he wishes.
He said when the motion to block Amama comes to the CEC, he will not support it.
“The moment you start using the law for your own interests, then it will be misused,” Kyaligonza told Daily Monitor, adding, ”Let everybody who can try. Museveni has contenders in the opposition, why not allow Mbabazi too?”
Another NRM historical and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, said Mbabazi has a constitutional right to stand as an independent.
“Mbabazi has a democratic right to go independent. He would have run under NRM, but he chose not to.”
What is going wrong?
On leave from his ambassadorial duties in Burundi, Kyaligonza said the current push to retire the old guards in the party will be more meaningful if Museveni’s situation is also brought into perspective.
“Since you the youth are telling us to [retire] because of our age, I don’t know what would now happen to the chairman [Yoweri Museveni],” Kyaligonza is quoted telling The Observer.
This came after Museveni unleashed his son in-law, Odrek Rwabwogo, to challenge and take Kyaligonza’s seat.
Speaking in response to the “betrayal”, another historical and Luweero NRM District Chairperson, Hajji Abdul Nadduli, faulted Museveni, for sending a “boy” to fight an NRM historical.
Nadduli asked Museveni to prevail on his son-in-law to drop interest in Kyaligonza’s seat because it creates an impression that he is trying to create a family political dynasty.
To the contrary, the “boy” has even held a fundraising at a private residence that raised over Shs 400m to fight Kyaligonza.
On the other hand, Otafiire who has been busy fighting and de-campaigning Mbabazi now backing him to stand as an independent is something yet to be comprehended.
As for Kyaligonza, he is the man who hurled “kumanyoko” insults at Mbabazi’s wife, Jacqueline, during a CEC meeting and said he would have had them in jail had he been the president.
Now a betrayal by his boss, has opened his eyes and sent him into Mbabazi’s good books.
Museveni’s back up
The president is not to be surprised by his old guard yet.
We are told his faith now lies in new recruits; Kasule Lumumba who replaced Amama as Secretary General and her deputy Richard Todwong and Rose Namayanja, the NRM national treasurer.
Namayanja was on record saying Amama should be curtailed because “Mbabazi said independents are not only independent of any party but also themselves”.
Lumumba on the other hand, says “Kyaligonza can only persuade Rwabwogo to stand down but cannot force it against his political will.”
While the historicals are ready to turn against Museveni over sanctioning Amama for standing as an independent candidate, the new recruits will do their boss’s bidding.
Nonetheless, critics agree that this sudden change of heart by historicals will see the end of Museveni reign.