The Observer (Kampala)

10 March 2014

Uganda: Wolokoso - Chief Whip Lumumba to 'Replace' Mbabazi

Photo: Capital FM
Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

The Observer, to which Wolokoso is closely related, last week described the ramblings in the NRM as a "power struggle" and the term is catching on - picked up by the likes of BBC.

Anyhow, as the power struggle in NRM continues, rumours emerged last week suggesting that the head of the NRM family may be about to spring a surprise.

It is said Justine Kasule Lumumba, who is the current government chief whip, is a possible future prime minister of Uganda. Of course we can hear readers saying "why Lumumba?"

Well, one answer is that this is just Wolokoso. Period. But seriously, we are told, those who are selling Lumumba to the president say that as the first female PM, she will be a strong weapon to trim speaker Rebecca Kadaga's clout in Eastern Uganda.

Lumumba has also enhanced her reputation because of the way the Kyankwanzi 2014 mission was executed. Wolokoso will be eavesdropping more on what the Project Lumumba architects are telling the president and you will be the first to know.

Will Nambooze pay Bakaluba?

Gratitude, they say, is one of the few truly universal human values, but you don't get a lot of sympathy for demanding it.

Yet that does not take away the feeling of injustice when due gratitude is not paid. Take the example of Mukono South MP Peter Bakaluba Mukasa, who has no kind words for Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze-Bakireke.

Apparently, Bakaluba believes he made Nambooze but the fiery DP woman is not paying her gratitude dues. Bakaluba was a talk show host with the Bukoto-based radio Simba. He poured out his heart about Nambooze to Butambala MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, who is a great friend to the 'forgetful' Nambooze.

"Let me tell you people; it is us who make and finish you, but I am, indeed, not happy with the way Nambooze treats me," Bakaluba told Kivumbi last Wednesday.

"I am the one who made that Nambooze, because I was the first person to give her air time at Simba's Gasimbagane ne Bannamawulire show and she was with Tamale Mirundi [presidential press secretary], but you can't imagine that she is demonising me from right, left and centre, everywhere!"

Well, since Hon Nambooze is reading this, Wolokoso hereby whispers Bakaluba's displeasure to her.

Today it's Gil, tomorrow it's Amama...

As the song goes, "Today it's me, tomorrow it's someone else", former Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya is watching the goings-on in the ruling party with some satisfaction.

Bukenya was once ostracised by the NRM leadership after speaking of a Mafia clique in government. Among the people who seemed to be calling Bukenya to order then was Amama Mbabazi, the now-embattled prime minister.

With Mbabazi now being victimised for being suspected to harbour presidential ambitions, Bukenya seems to be enjoying the show.

"That mafia badly treated us during those days; let him also taste it. He [mistreated] many people including you," a joyous Bukenya was overheard telling MPs that included Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde.

Biteks envies Waf

Bukooli Central MP Wafula Oguttu has just become the leader of opposition in Parliament, but the perks that come with this position have drawn the envy of some - not in a bad way, though.

Recently, 'Waf' was driven in a blue UC- number plate posh land cruiser up to Parliament's stairs. Waf's escorts jumped out and opened the door for him, with MPs that included Mbarara Municipality's Medard Bitekyerezo, looking on. The talkative Bitekyerezo, could not keep it to himself.

"Eh, Oguttu, God elevated you. Can you imagine that you are now officially being driven in a government car with escorts? I wish I were you man," Biteks told Waf.

Bahati-Baryo alliance scares tobacco lobby

After the recent passage of the anti-homosexuality bill in total defiance of world powers, its mover, the Ndorwa West MP David Bahati has now turned his guns on something else - the tobacco control bill.

Looking very much like a man who knows how to push an unpopular bill to its logical end, Bahati last week appeared alongside fellow Munyakigezi Chris Baryomunsi, who is the brains behind the tobacco bill.

The newspaper picture of Bahati and Baryomunsi has scared some in the pro-tobacco lobby, which is opposed to the bill. For long, the lobby clang onto hope that the bill will fail, after President Museveni opposed it. But then again, Museveni had also opposed the Bahati bill..

Amama the charmer

Hate him or like him, one thing you can't take away from the beleaguered prime minister of Uganda and secretary general of the NRM, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, is that he is an intelligent, smooth operator. He does have an aura of sophistication that can disarm his harshest critics.

When he recently hosted journalists to Ask the Prime Minister (APM) some questions, Mbabazi came across as a suave, charming politician. Warm, accessible, listening, courteous, forthcoming.

At some point, the prime minister appeared as if he wanted to pour some tea for one of his guest journos. Many scribes who do not know that side of Amama, were profoundly charmed. You could tell they liked what they saw.

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