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The East African : March 10th 2014
12 BEEN IN STRUGGLE SINCE 1970 Mbabazi’s wife calls Uganda’s NRM ‘fascist’ The pa≥ty’s Pa≥liamenta≥y caucus accused Mbabazi of mobilising suppo≥t against Museveni By DANIEL K. KALINAKI The EastAfrican T he wife of Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has accused President Museveni of trying to push her husband out of the leadership of the National Resistance Movement and warned that “fascist tendencies” were at the heart of the current crisis in the ruling party. As leader of the NRM’s Wom- en’s League, Jacqueline Mbabazi is a member of the party’s highest party organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC). Her comments follow an NRM parliamentary caucus meeting on Monday and Tuesday at which Mr and Ms Mbabazi were accused of mobilising support against Museveni with an eye on bagging the party nomination for the 2016 presidential elections. They also follow an NRM parliamentary caucus retreat, a week earlier, at which a resolution was passed endorsing Museveni as the party’s sole presidential candidate in the 2016 elections. Mr Mbabazi was one of the last officials to sign the resolution, which has political value but no legal bearing, as only the delegate’s conference Above, NRM delegates at the party retreat in Kyankwanzi. Right: Jacqueline Mbabazi. Picture: File and Morgan Mbabazi can elect the party’s candidate. Ms Mbabazi said the back- to-back meetings of the parliamentary caucus “have exposed fascist tendencies within the NRM party. What is obvious is that Mr Mbabazi is a target of orchestrated cliques and groups. Whereas they make an effort to make it appear like a spontaneous attack, it is blatantly obvious that it is not. “I would therefore like to state quite clearly, that I will continue GOVT REACTION Tamale Mirundi, President Museveni’s spokesperson had this to say: “That is not correct. Has she forgotten that it was President Museveni who had to convince the people of Kinkizi West to vote for him and even told them he was presidential material? Has she forgotten that President Museveni protected Mbabazi during the last delegates conference. If he has fallen out with Museveni, then the problem is Jacqueline herself. Mbabazi has been thriving on the good will of the president. Jacqueline is undermining Mr Mbabazi, in politics, no one wants to be ruled by proxy. She should let Mr Mbabazi fight his political battles. When Brig Jim Muhwezi or Capt Mike Mukula were arrested and detained in Luzira prison, did their wives make statements?” Many people have gone through similar situations, let her stop undermining her husband.” to defend Mr Mbabazi especially when I feel he is being unfairly targeted.” In her statement, Ms Mbaba- zi said she had disagreed with President Museveni, who is also the party chairman, over his objection to Mr Mbabazi holding the position of prime minister and party secretary-general concurrently. She said the president’s offer to keep the Prime Minister as a member of the top party organ, if he relinquished his secretary-general position, was selective and violated the party constitution. “My position has been that we should not be selective and single out Hon Amama Mbabazi as the only one to relinquish his position as secretary-general. Why him when other members of the CEC are holding two or more posts? In my view, to add a Prime Minister to the CEC Committee required a constitutional amendment which was never proposed. I took his view then as an effort to push an elected secretary-general out of the leadership of the party.” She added that the discussions over her actions should have been discussed by the CEC, not the party parliamentary caucus. “I have been in the struggle for the liberation of Uganda since the 1970s. I have been a loyal member to the principles of the Movement and remain so,” Ms Mbabazi said. “I find the entire spirit of that sitting of the NRM parliamentary caucus to have contravened the NRM Constitution that requires us to further the principles of transparency, accountability, integrity and consensus building.” President Museveni this week sought to pour oil over troubled waters by clarifying press reports that the party caucus had sacked the secretary-general, and explaining why Richard Todwong, a minister without portfolio, had been deployed to assist the party in Mr Mbabazi¹s office. [See story on page 10] Mr Mbabazi has publicly stat- ed that he would only run for president if Mr Museveni is not on the ballot. On Monday he distanced himself further from the speculation at a public event in Kampala. “I am not in the 2016 presiden- tial campaign and we as a party are going to announce our campaign programme when the time comes; people should just wait for it,” Mr Mbabazi said, according to a statement published by the Information ministry. However, the animated dis- cussions within the party caucus, and the revelations in Ms Mbabazi’s statement highlight the depth of the tensions between the two politicians who have worked together since the early 1970s. Ms Mbabazi said President Museveni had accused her of canvassing party mobilisers, and asked her about a petition asking Mr Mbabazi to stand for president in 2016. She said she defended her contacts with party mobilisers and said she had seen the petition but not originated it. The president also played back to her a secret recording by Ugandan intelligence of her allegedly abusing Mr Museveni and accusing him of involving his family in national politics. In her statement to this news- paper Ms Mbabazi admitted it was her voice on the tape but said two separate recordings had been doctored to implicate her. Ministe≥’s action may delay Ugandan leg of ≥ailway p≥oject R By MICHAEL WAKABI The EastAfrican wanda and South Sudan’s Standard Gauge Railway ambitions could suffer significant delays as Uganda gets trapped in a bureaucratic conflict pitting President Museveni and the Solicitor-General on the one hand and junior Minister for Works John Byabagambi on the other. While the president wants a bankable SGR project ready for soliciting finances in six months’ time, Mr Byabagambi, who is also chair to the SGR regional committee, insists on pulling out of existing agreements, something the Solicitor-General warns could lead to unnecessary litigation and delays. At the end of their June 25, 2013 tripartite summit, presidents Uhuru Kenyata, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni and Salva Kiir, set a March 2018 deadline for completion of the regional SGR lines and Kenya has already awarded a contract but amid controversy. In a February 19 brief to Mr Byabagambi, President Museveni directed that construction of Uganda’s SGR network will be undertaken by the two firms — China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) — with both companies working with the UPDF Engineering Brigade. In the same brief Mr Byabagambi was instructed to Workers carrying out a feasiblity study for the construction of the standard gauge railway in Kenya. Picture: File engage an independent consultant to carry out feasibility studies “and prepare bankable SGR projects within six months.” According to Museveni, those studies would form the basis for further decisions, leading to contract award and should be availed to other financiers. The ministries of finance, the UPDF and the AG’s chambers were to work jointly towards fulfilling the conditions for financing. Relevant ministries were also required to work with their counterparts in Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan to “ensure SGR is done as regional project and “we solicit financing from China Exim Bank as a regional bloc. Mr Byabagambi, however, said that it is necessary for the memorandum of understanding Uganda signed with CCECC, and a separate one the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces signed with CHEC to be set aside to allow harmonisation of the project with regional partners. “We are going to retender so that we get a contractor who will work in harmony with the contractors working in the other countries. That does not necessarily mean that the contractors whose MoUs are cancelled will not be allowed to compete in the new round,” he said. That effectively opens a new bidding round for the project, pushing it back more than a year. With both the The EastAfrican NEWS MARCH 8-14,2014 Sudan and Rwanda sections depending on Uganda, delays here, could stymie the regional network. Mr Byabagambi says he will use a clause in the document that allows either party to serve a three months’ notice to the other before pulling out of the deal. Mr Byabagambi’s position runs counter to advice from the Solicitor General’s office. Replying to a February 5, letter in which Works Permanent Secretary Alex Okello, seeks legal guidance on how the MoU with CCECC could be terminated, the Solicitor General refered to Museveni letter to Mr Byabagambi warning that any move to terminate the MoU would delay the project and expose Uganda to costs.
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