Former National Unity Platform (NUP) President Moses Nkonge Kibalama has told the High Court in Kampala Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen David Muhoozi detained and interrogated him over Bobi Wine’s acquisition of the party.
Kibalama appeared in court on September 25, 2020. There was heavy security deployment at Twed Towers in Nakasero where the court is housed.
The former president of National Unity and Reconciliation Party – NURP (that morphed into NUP) was in court to answer questions over Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s acquisition of the party.
He was cross-examined by Bobi’s lawyers because he had signed two conflicting affidavits on the same issue — and on the same day.
On September 16, Kibalama and Paul Kagombe Ssimbwa, two of the 41 delegates who were instrumental in Bobi Wine’s acquisition of the party denounced the presidential hopeful and pulled out of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed a few months ago.
Kibalama revealed that Muhoozi had quizzed him over his links with Bobi Wine. He said his meeting with Muhoozi happened on a Sunday.
For two weeks, he further revealed, he had been held under an undisclosed location in Mbale in eastern Uganda.
He claimed to have learnt of the summons issued last week for him to appear before court when someone smuggled a newspaper into his detention room.
Despite the army’s and police’s claims, Kibalama denied seeking state protection from NUP members.
But the 59-year-old denied Bobi lawyers’ claims that he had also met Internal Security Organization (ISO) boss Col Kaka Bagyenda.
On if he had sold NUP to Bobi Wine for $5m (Shs18bn), Kibalama denied knowledge of any such arrangement, insisting political parties aren’t for sale.
He begged for his freedom from military detention, saying he wanted to return to his home in Buwambo.
Bobi’s lawyer Medard Sseggona said Kibalama’s detention was telling of the army’s involvement in partisan politics.
Kibalama has also accused NUP lawyer Anthony Wameeli of misleading him into signing documents okaying the change of the party’s name and transferring its leadership to Bobi Wine.
He admitted he neither read through the documents nor understood their contents.
Justice Musa Sekaana adjourned the case to October 16, when defendants are expected to present written submissions.
In July 2020, Kibalama, the founder and former president of National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP) joined Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine to announce the formation of NUP.
NURDP had morphed into the NUP.
Kibalama told People Power enthusiasts at the pressure group’s office in Kamwokya, Kampala, they now had a vehicle through which they could push Bobi Wine’s presidential ambition.
He also told all and sundry that he had ceded the party’s leadership to Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Some critics claimed that Kibalama had sold the party, which had been largely inactive for almost 16 years, to Bobi Wine for a figure they put somewhere between Shs200m and Shs5bn.
But Kibalama has dismissed reports that he sold NURDP to Bobi Wine.
“There have been reports that Honorable Kyagulanyi bought the party from us. That’s rubbish, total rubbish,” Kibalama told reporters in Kampala on August 08.
“A political party is not a commodity for sale and I wonder which supermarket sells political parties; you cannot own a political party as an individual.”
But just over a month since he denied selling the party, Kibalama has announced Bobi Wine had failed to pay him and other $5m (about Shs18bn).
In a video recorded at an undisclosed location in the night, Kibalama reveals that the 41 NURDP members who ceded their power to Bobi Wine and People Power had been promised money.
He says that as other members went to court over Bobi’s acquisition of the party, the Kibalama camp had “already taken a change of mind” not to stay with “these young men because they have not fulfilled the promises they had made.”
Noting that the party had been able to stand without funds from Bobi Wine or government, Kibalama said the offer of $5m was irresistible and “any individual would go in for the same.”
“That’s how we fell into the trap; it was a good promise,” he admitted.
“They [Bobi Wine and People Power] had promised that when their sponsors finally bring in the money, I don’t know from whatever sources, these people would be able to give us five million dollars.”
But after waiting for the billions in vain, Kibalama went on, the group was disappointed and thought it wise to end the political marriage.
“We thought it [the deal] would materialize very well… But they became a problem; this is a bad deal, we shouldn’t have gone into it,” he narrated.
“We thought we should not continue because it is totally useless to work with such a team.”
He added that they didn’t know about the conduct of Bobi Wine and his group, who he blamed for messing up the party.
Kibalama further reveals that they had given them good promises such as business enterprises in case Bobi Wine ever took over power.
But Kibalama and his colleagues don’t have any agreement but rather “a mutual understanding on how the money would be passed on to us if we gave them a leeway.”
They had also promised the Kibalama group powerful positions in the party and in government.
Ssimbwa corroborates Kibalama’s statements on lack of documentary commitment on the Shs18bn price.
“A lot was promised ‘gentlemanly,” says Ssimbwa, 39, who was the NURDP secretary general from 2017 to 2019. “They promised heaven on earth.”
Ssimbwa wondered what Bobi Wine and his People Power could do differently from Museveni if they have failed on the area of internal mechanisms.
He accuses Bobi Wine of veering off the objectives of NUP because “activities conducted [by Bobi using NUP’s name] are subversive.”
“The issue is not about money per se, because this is a political party which was formed with objectives… It’s all about [restoring] sanity in the party.”
Ssimbwa said the 41 delegates had made the decision to withdraw from the MoU “with a clear conscience.”
“We have not been forced. We have realized clearly that we can’t move with the other side.”