NRM leaders scoff at Mbabazi letter to Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th June 2015 11:51 PM

A number of NRM senior leaders have scoffed at former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi over the letter he wrote to the Party Chairperson and President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, highlighting the rationale behind his decision to take a shot at the presidency in next year's general elections.

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A number of NRM senior leaders have scoffed at former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi over the letter he wrote to the Party Chairperson and President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, highlighting the rationale behind his decision to take a shot at the presidency in next year's general elections.

By Moses Walubiri, Umar Kashaka & David Lumu        

A number of NRM senior leaders have scoffed at former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi  over the letter he wrote to the Party Chairperson and President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, highlighting the rationale behind his decision to take a shot at the presidency in next year's general elections.

In the letter dated June 13, 2015, Mbabazi  argued that the achievements realized by Uganda under Museveni's stewardship over the years notwithstanding, the numerous challenges the country is facing require renewed impetus and "change" which he claims he has "the wherewithal" to provide.

Mbabazi’s spokesperson, Josephine Mayanja Nkangi confirmed to New Vision that indeed the letter was written by her boss and delivered to the Office of the President on Monday 15 June 2015.

In his response, NRM Vice Chairperson, Moses Kigongo  said that Mbabazi is raising nothing new.

"When he says we must join those nations where a change of guard happens regularly and through the ballot, which nations is he talking about? For me I'm staying in Uganda and what is in those countries doesn't concern me," Kigongo said, revealing that the party will respond to Mbabazi in due course.

Luwero district chairperson, Abdu Nadduli accused Mbabazi of duplicity saying he had a chance to raise these issues while still Prime Minister. "Has just realized that the leadership is tired?" Nadduli asked.

Minister in Charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital City, Frank Tumwebaze, said Mbabazi’s assertion that other leaders in the NRM were fortune seekers was unfortunate.

"Yes i have seen the letter. And as I said earlier Mbabazi is free to vie for any office be it in NRM or elsewhere. But he contradicts himself a great deal on many issues.”

“For him to lambast other leaders in NRM and call them fortune seeking cadres, is unfortunate on his part. So does he want to say that all the time he worked as the party's  chief mobilizer( party Secretary General) responsible among others for  mentoring and recurring  cadres; he only mentored fortune seekers? If that is what he means, then it means he was the pioneer of  that fortune seeking ideology.  And in any case which cadres did he mentor?” Tumwebaze said.

“He talks of a tired system and efficiency in government. So what makes the system "tired" and himself who was at the vanguard of steering that system in various roles, "fresh and new"?.  If the system is tired, then he must be exhausted himself. So, is his legacy all about mentoring fortune seeking cadres and creating a tired system? Has he only realized all those alleged defects in the system after his involuntary exist? Am happy he is launching his bid  with such  shaky and contradictory arguments. It gives the NRM members an opportunity to discern him with ease. I wish him well,” he added.

Information minister Jim Muhwezi warned Amama Mbabazi against criticising the NRM government he served for close to 30 years.

"I am surprised that he (Mbabazi) attempts to criticise what he has part been of. Mbabazi should be the very person to explain if there were any areas that needed improvement because he has occupied strategic positions within NRM since its inception," Muhwezi told New Vision.

Mbabazi, who is also the former NRM secretary general, held several key cabinet portfolios before he was dropped as premier in September 2014, including director general external security organisation, minister of state for defence and minister of state for security.

Muhwezi, however, noted that Mbabazi's declaration that he would contest within the NRM was important because it confirmed there is democracy in the party, his wrong approach notwithstanding.
"Our concern is that he is violating the rules of the party he claims he will contest in because the NRM has a roadmap and a timetable and the party's electoral commission has not yet called for nominations of any candidate for any position," Muhwezi, who is also the Rujumbura MP, said.

Chairperson of NRM Electoral Commission, Dr. Tanga Odoi was reticent. "My role as a referee requires that I remain neutral."

Mbabazi’s letter dated June 13, 2015 to the NRM Chairperson in full:

His Excellency Gen (Rtd) Yoweri Museveni,
National chairman, NRM and President of the Republic of Uganda.

Your Excellency

I thank the National Resistance Movement (NRM) under your leadership for the opportunity given to me to serve our great nation.  We have worked together from the formation of NRM, and before that, from the earlier period of the liberation movement, on policy and implementation of the armed struggle and, later on, government programmes.

I am reasonably satisfied that the fundamental objectives NRM initially set out to achieve have been realized. These are: peace and security, a united country, improved economic  security, positive economic growth, increased provision of education: the strengthening and/or building of institutions on which democratic governance can be anchored, and the respect of international community, to name a few. I am very proud of whatever part I have played in bringing about the aforementioned achievements.

While we have done many great things, we now need to look not at the quantity but the quality of the product. When we look at all our accomplishments, it is clear we still face many more challenges.

These are in brief: to transform the economy, to fight corruption, to tackle the scourge of unemployment and to create jobs for all, to provide universal and superior healthcare, to address the quality of education and the skills gap, and to strengthen and respect public institutions and the rule of law among others.

Uganda is at a crossroads; stuck between old and new and very different economic development stages.  Our future leaders need to understand this. What the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) began, and NRA achieved, was a revolution.

This was akin to building the foundation of one's house. But now we must build upon our achievements, constructing the pillars and columns that will elevate our nation to new heights and form the basis upon which a stronger, more enduring and equitable social order can be laid. NRM must adapt and Uganda must progress. It is time to evolve. 

This is what elections are about: the future; the path our great and proud nation will embark on. And yet, today's leadership is afraid of the unknowable quality of the future. It is apprehensive of the fast-shifting landscape upon which present Uganda unfolds.

The leadership clings to the sails of a wearied boat that is familiar, not observing that it is no longer equipped to stay the post-liberation course, or that too great a number of its crew are  now fortune-hunters and not genuine workmen. A number of those in the leadership reject various facets of 21st century modernity that have become essential to efficiency and advancement in other parts of the world.

The undeniable reality is this: a new age is upon us and it demands three things.

The first is an awareness of its existence and the accompanying implications therein.

The second: a willingness to engage with it as a present reality and not some far-off time in the future. The time is now for fairness: fairness in the salaries we offer teachers, doctors, nurses, and other medical workers: fairness in the salaries and allowances offered to policemen and soldiers – men and women who sacrifice their lives to protect us: fairness for those in public service and all those Ugandans whose labour power our economy.

The third and final of this new age is the competency to put in place the answers to the questions it will necessarily pose.
Whatever age we are in, however, the basic tenets of good governance remain the same. Good governance is based on the rule of law and not the whims of an individual. Good governance is grounded in equity and inclusiveness and demands the participation of citizens in decision-making.  Good governance means a separation of powers where there is autonomy between the Executive, Legislature and Judicial branches of government. Good governance occurs when the Ugandan people can expect accountability, transparency and finally, effectiveness and efficiency.

The time has come for Uganda to go forward in pursuit of a radical system change based on the principles of good governance. We cannot tarry for this is the most critical endeavor of our time.

As in the past, Uganda, and her people, still need peace and security. But they now have additional concerns. As they see how scientific and technological advancement continue to shape many parts of the world for the better in areas such as health, education, business and even governance, they are desirous of a leap into 21st century modernity.

Today's Ugandans are exposed to and better aware of the possibilities available to them now that the preservation of life and limb is no longer their only primary concern.

Mr. Chairman, as I earlier stated, much has been achieved. Given this fact, let us not risk undoing our past gains.

The coming election is not simply about change of leader, but about changing systems in Uganda for this generation to come. We simply must join those nations where a change of guard happens regularly and through the ballot. It is time for peaceful transition; and so I hope that all Ugandans will use the opportunity next year to cast their vote for a healthier and more democratic Uganda: where the rule of law is observed and where the identity, dignity, solidarity and productivity of her people are returned to her.

As you know Mr. Chairman and as I indicated earlier, I have had, in the past, the honor and privilege to work with you and other colleagues in the party, the Government and the country and with so many young, passionate and engaged people.

The change Uganda must have requires someone with the requisite ideas, energy and drive; and the experience I have acquired has given me the wherewithal needed to successfully steer this change.

In light of this, I will be seeking to run for Party Chairman of the NRM and as the Flag-bearer for the NRM for President of Uganda in the 2016 general election.

I remain loyal to my party the NRM. Yet, my greatest devotion and allegiance is fixed upon my country Uganda and its people.  

NRM leaders scoff at Mbabazi letter to Museveni

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