FORMER Vice President Prof. Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya has said he is ready to work with former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to bring change to the nation
By Moses Mulondo & Kennedy Oryema
FORMER Vice President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya has said that it is an insult to say that he imitates his former boss President Yoweri Museveni.
Responding to a question during a news conference, Bukenya said: “I am a professor of medicine and I am supposed to gesture while stressing a point. As a teacher, I am supposed to communicate well. There is no way you can say that I am the one copying Museveni. May be its President Museveni copying me. I am a professor and he is not. Who should copy the other?” he asked.
This after a journalist put it to Bukenya that he was one of the ardent admirers of President Museveni to the extent that he would gesture like him that seemed to have irked the professor.
Bukenya also revealed he is ready to work with former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to bring change to the nation.
“Amama Mbabazi is a very intelligent man. He is a very experienced leader. I believe for some time, Amama was the one shaping President Museveni. We can’t just throw away his experience,” Bukenya said.
Bukenya addresses the media while Uganda Young Democrats vice president Labison Kijjambu (right) and Forum for Democratic Change official Henry Lubowa look on. Photo by Kennedy Oryema
On whether he would form an alliance with Mbabazi to remove President Museveni, Bukenya said: “In politics, there are no permanent friends and enemies. I am ready to work with anyone who is ready to bring change from the current corruption, nepotism, one man.”
Cautioning NRM legislators against sycophancy and supporting plans to remove the 75 year age limit from the constitution, Bukenya said: “Mbabazi and I have been closer to Museveni than many of those who are now blindly supporting his ‘life presidency’. I advise NRM MPs to reject that proposal because it would be constitutionalizing dictatorship. When a person reaches 75 years he begins to experience mental retardation (dementia).”
The 2016 presidential hopeful cautioned President Yoweri Museveni against overstaying in power, arguing it is a recipe for disaster.
Pointing out plans to remove the constitutional age limit of 75 years for presidential eligibility, President Museveni’s recent remarks that is he is not ready to handover to those opposed him and that he owns all the money in Uganda, Bukenya said there is every indication that NRM is driving the nation in a dangerous direction.
“I remember in 1986, President Museveni said the biggest problem of Africa is leaders who overstay in power. Unfortunately he has become that very problem. He is now Uganda’s biggest problem. The President should avoid killing the legacy he has struggled to build throughout his life,” Bukenya told journalists yesterday at parliament.
The professor of medicine regretted that in 2005 President Museveni hoodwinked them to support the removal of term limits on condition that he was coming back for his last term.
“We went around the country asking voters to give Museveni one more term. But now, there is every indication that he is set to become a life president,” Bukenya stated.
On the unwillingness to hand over power and remarks that a mere ballot paper cannot remove him from power, Bukenya said, “That is an abrogation of article 1 of the Uganda constitution which gives power to the Uganda citizens to choose leaders they want to lead them. Such reckless and dictatorial remarks can drive our nation back into political turmoil.”
A tough speaking Bukenya cited corruption, nepotism, appalling state of the health and education sectors, poor road network, high unemployment, high poverty levels and high income inequality as some of President Museveni’s failures which have prompted him to stand for president in 2016 to change the situation.
“President Museveni has been in power for over 29 years but our hospitals are in a terrible state. He has failed to even repair the 29 hospitals Dr. Milton Obote built. Whereas he calls him swine, Obote did better than Museveni in this area,” Bukenya argued.
Referring to the outbursts against people from a particular region during the 2009 riots when the Kabaka had been blocked from going to Kayunga, Bukenya warned that any leader who rules on nepotism and tribalism sets the nation on a time bomb.
Bukenya ready to work with Mbabazi to oust Museveni