Former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi has explained why he can never leave 76-year-old President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
In September 2014, Museveni fired Mbabazi, replacing him with Dr Livingstone Ruhakana Rugunda.
Three months later, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party relieved Mbabazi of his duties as the party’s secretary general.
The following year, Mbabazi took on Museveni in a presidential election, becoming the media’s favorite. Some pollsters even predicted the former Museveni would eclipse opposition strongman Dr Kizza Besigye as the country’s main opposition leader.
According to official results released by the country’s Electoral Commission (EC), Museveni polled 60.6 per cent of the vote against Besigye’s 35.6 per cent and Mbabazi’s 1.39 per cent.
Since his dismal performance in the 2016 election, Mbabazi had turned politically silent.
In January 2020, Museveni and Mbabazi met in Togo, weeks after they held talks at the president’s Kisozi farm in Gomba.
Mbabazi had joined Togo’s president Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe at the Lome-Tokoin Gnassingbe Eyadema International airport to welcome Museveni for a two-day France-Africa summit on drug trafficking and counterfeit medicines.
A month earlier, Mbabazi had visited Museveni in his capacity to discuss the work of the Brazaville Foundation for which the ex-premier is a board director. Based in the UK, the Foundation’s patron is Prince Micheal of Kent.
In February 2020, Mbabazi was a guest, at Museveni’s invitation, for the Tarehe Sita celebrations in Butalangu Grounds, Kiwoko in Nakaseke District.
The three consecutive public appearances of Mbabazi and Museveni sparked off rumors of the ex-powerful politician’s return to cabinet.
In November 2020, Museveni confirmed he had held meetings with Mbabazi to resolve the duo’s differences.
Now, barely two months after that public revelation, Museveni assigned Mbabazi to represent him at an event in Kampala.
On January 05, Mbabazi met NRM councilors from the five divisions of Kampala: Nakawa, Kawempe, Rubaga, Makindye, and Kampala Central.
Mbabazi has made it clear he has never left the NRM, something surprising to some opposition politicians who had even fronted him as a joint candidate instead of Dr Besigye under The Democratic Alliance (TDA).
“I am NRM. Those who thought that because I contested against our chairman that I left NRM are wrong because they do not know what they are talking abouT,” said Mbabazi.
Admitting that he had differences with the NRM and its National Chairman Museveni, Mbabazi said he was open to negotiations.
MBABAZI: I FOUNDED NRM, CAN’T QUIT
He would not leave the party he helped found, he emphasized.
“I have been silent and I have my issues. I will not discuss them here today but time will come, we shall sit together as NRM and talk about them,” revealed the former powerful prime minister.
“I was among those who started NRM; so, why should I leave it? I cannot.”
Mbabazi also talked of sorting out issues in the NRM through the party organs.
“I have heard many things are happening in our party and I am not happy, but we shall discuss them when I come to the party organs,” Mbabazi told the councillors gathered in Kawempe.
“I look forward to coming into the mainstream of NRM to discuss how we can strengthen the party and we can move together in the transformation of this country.”
He also revealed he had returned to talking terms with the president in handling NRM matters.
For example, he had informed Museveni about a group of councilors that had wanted to meet him at his home in Kololo on January 01.
“When I got your message, I spoke to our chairman [NRM national chairman Museveni] on the phone. I told him that some of our people want to meet me. He said ‘go and meet them and tell me what they will tell you,” Mbabazi told councilors.
MBABAZI: I CAN NEVER LEAVE MUSEVENI
On his relationship with Museveni, Mbabazi said he wouldn’t abandon his comrade in the struggle despite differences.
“There are certain times Museveni and I did not agree and it caused the other problems you witnessed in 2015. But me, I can never leave him. I have spent 50 years with Museveni in the struggle,” Mbabazi assured Kampala NRM leaders.
“When I had a wedding at my home, I told Museveni that ‘even if we disagree, it will not take me out of NRM. If I have been with you for 50 years in the most difficult conditions, I will not part ways with you because of the disagreements I have with you today. But if I have disagreements with you, I tell you.”