After keeping observers and political pundits guesing as to whether he will throw his hat in the ring, former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has made it clear that he will be running for the presidency in the 2016 general elections, but first through the NRM party structures.
By Moses Walubiri
After keeping observers and political pundits guessing as to whether he will throw his hat in the ring, former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has made it clear that he will be running for the presidency in the 2016 general elections, but first through the NRM party structures.
In a video message, the Kinkizi West MP and former NRM secretary general described the 2016 polls as the most important in a generation, saying: "The coming election is about the future, about making Uganda work for everyone. It is about reinvigorating our country and making it fit for the 21st century and beyond."
Mbabazi said he had no qualms with President Museveni and said that the two freely associate.
Highlighting Uganda's post-independence trajectory, Mbabazi anchored his message on "eight critical things."
Foremost among these, Mbabazi said, will be reviving Uganda's democracy and institutions, transforming the economy and attracting local and foreign investments, promoting equitable development that benefiting all regions of the country and providing jobs that fit the 21st century.
Other critical areas include ensuring a greater level of accountability on part of "your leaders," reinforcing observance of and respect for rule of law, provision of good quality care and enhancing the quality of education and "addressing the skills gap."
"As a people we must choose between achieving success and true prosperity in the new global economy or nursing a tired nation - yesterday's story," Mbabazi said.
"You will be making a choice for your families, for your children and the generations to come. In the coming days you will hear and read, in greater detail, more about my plans for Uganda's future," Mbabazi, one of the few politicians with longest association with the ruling NRM said.
However, NRM secretary general, Kasule Lumumba and minister for the presidency, Frank Tumwebaze down played the ripples spawned by Mbabazi's announcement.
"As a party, we welcome every member interested in vying for any post," Lumumba told New Vision by phone earlier today.
She advised Mbabazi to register to enable him get a new NRM card. Lumumba explained that all eligible party contenders must possess new party cards.
Tumwebaze said, "It's his (Mbabazi's) constitutional right to vie for any office."
Who is Amama Mbabazi?
Born on January 16, 1949 in Mparo, Kigezi, Amama Mbabazi holds a Law (LLB) Degree from Makerere University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre.
He is an advocate of the Courts of Judicature of Uganda and a member of the Uganda Law Society.
Professionally, Mbabazi worked as State Attorney in the Attorney General’s Chambers from 1976-1978 and while there, he quickly rose to become the Secretary of the Uganda Law Council between 1977 and 1979.
After the fall of Idi Amin, he became the director of legal services of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). He then fled to exile in 1981 where he set up the external committee for what later became the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
When President Yoweri Museveni took over power in 1986, Mbabazi was appointed the boss to the External Security Organisation, a post he held from 1986 to 1992 while at the same time a member of the NRC.
Since 1992, Mbabazi has held various political posts, which include Minister of State for Defence 1992 to 1998 and Minister of State for Regional Cooperation 1998-2001.
He is a Member of Parliament for Kinkizi West. He previously held the portfolios of Minister of State in the President’s office in-charge of Political Affairs, among others.
His early involvement in politics dates back to the late 1960’s when he was part of a group with people like Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Kisimba Masiko and others.
They formed a group of leftist-leaning students at a time when Rugunda was campaigning to head the National Union of Students of Uganda.
When Amin took over power in April 1971, they formed a clandestine movement and linked up with activists like Tumusiime Mutebile, Prof. Dan Nabudere and Edward Rugumayo to start Amin’s ouster.
In one incident in which they once went to a cocktail at the Germany Embassy, they met Wanume Kibedi who was Amin’s foreign affairs minister.
They tried to persuade him not to work with Amin but the way Wanume responded, they realised he was Amin’s strong man and that they had given themselves in.
So, they ran and hid at Rugumayo’s place, while Mutebile and others fled the country. But Mbabazi remained in the country.
While most of the group left the country, Mbabazi and Kahinda Otafiire were the only two left. It is at about this time that Amama became State Attorney and lay low but continued communicating with colleagues in Tanzania.
In 1974-75, he made links with Museveni and they have since been close sharing information while mobilising the anti-Amin war.
On February 8, Amama fled the country to exile and adopted the false name of Dr. Kalyaburo.
His stay in exile in Nairobi became untenable and he was relocated to Sweden together with Rugunda and Museveni’s family, with the assistance of Miriam Black, Uganda’s current ambassador to Netherlands.
They came back after the struggle and Mbabazi set up the intelligence system. He was later appointed Minister of Foreign affairs and Secretary to the NRM caucus in the Constituent Assembly.
He then worked as Minister for the Presidency and was the first substantive defense minister in the history of the National Resistance Movement.
Mbabazi was first Secretary General of the NRM, a post he juggled together with that of security minister.
Amama Mbabazi to run for president