Incumbent president Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni has openly spoken about talks with his former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi six years since the two former allies fell out.
In September 2014, Museveni fired Mbabazi, replacing him with Dr 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.
Now, Museveni has, for the first time, talked about his meetings with Mbabazi as he told party leaders in Kitgum on efforts to unite the NRM.
“I had differences with my late friend Eriya Kategaya. They took some positions which were unfair according in my opinion but [after the 2006 election], I invited him and said, ‘Eriya do you still support our ideas?’ He said ‘yes, the only problem he had said I go home.’ Go home who will manage to finish the job and you thought you could do it better when you are alone than when we are together? I didn’t agree with what they were saying,” Museveni said on November 17.
“Even with the Rt Hon Mbabazi, recently we have been [holding talks]; I think you have been seeing me meeting them. With some of the other parties like Beti Kamya. We are after aims not individual issues.”