The Observer (Kampala)

18 March 2014

Uganda: Amama-Museveni Row Killing Govt - Minister

Photo: Capital FM
Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

The dire effects of the political standoff between President Museveni and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi are clear and could grossly affect the functioning of government, a minister has warned.

Writing on his Facebook wall on March 14, the minister of state for Regional Affairs, Asuman Kiyingi, said the two senior politicians needed to work together and read from the same page or else Uganda would suffer the consequences.

"I can state with almost religious conviction that there can be no winner in a fall-out between H.E Y. K Museveni, Chairman NRM, and Rt Hon Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister and Secretary General NRM. The NRM, the government, the opposition and the whole country will lose out. It is only Uganda's enemies that may stand to gain," Kiyingi wrote.

A Museveni-Mbabazi rift, according to Kiyingi, will lead to inertia in the operations of the NRM and the government. The earlier it is resolved, the better. He writes that it is bad that some junior cadres have exploited the situation to denigrate the prime minister on social media, warning it could lead to chaos. He mentions Robert Rutaro, the secretary general of the NRM Youth League, and a one Dan Birekyeraho as the culprits.

"This is how anarchy crops into society. Juniors disrespecting and badmouthing their superiors and little small fellows loading it over everybody! A very dangerous development in the country which all Ugandans must pray about and guard against," he writes.

He says that while he will support Museveni in the 2016 elections, he loves and enormously respects Mbabazi. Kiyingi, an Independent MP, is the first minister to publicly comment about the friction between Mbabazi and Museveni, which has captivated the country over the past one month.

Speaking to The Observer on Monday, Kiyingi affirmed that these were his views. He said it was in the interest of the country for Museveni and Mbabazi to be on good working terms. He also cautioned that giving Shs 4 million to NRM MPs to popularise the Kyankwanzi resolution that endorses Museveni's sole NRM candidacy, as was decided last week, could open up new fronts of "hostile engagements" and backfire if the two principals (Mbabazi and Museveni) remained at loggerheads.

Last week, it was resolved that each NRM MP would be given Shs 4 million to popularise the Kyankwanzi resolution in each sub-country in their constituencies

Kiyingi's statement:

We praise and thank the Almighty God that the rains have come after a long dry spell. It is also high time we all talk unity and peace.

The last one month has been very stressful to many Ugandans. For the first time in their hitherto deep and comradely relationship open differences and a simmering conflict emerged between His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as President and Chairman NRM and Rt Hon Amama Mbabazi as Prime Minister and Secretary General NRM.

From the Kyankwanzi/Ngoma Resolutions, which I supported on this very wall incidentally, to the last three meetings of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus in State House Entebbe, the problem lingers. Now NRM MPs are going to the villages to preach the need for unity and cohesion in the party and government.

This is all good and timely as long as the President and Prime Minister's minds have met and are now pulling in the same direction and reading from the same page. Short of this, it is an exercise in futility that will only open up new fronts of hostile engagement that will fracture government and the party even further.

I love my President wholeheartedly and will support his candidature come 2016. I also love and respect my Prime Minister and hate to imagine the government side in Parliament without him as Prime Minister and leader of government business.

It, therefore, saddens me to see intelligent NRM cadres like Robert Rutaro, Dun Birekyeraho and others making it a favourite pastime to attack the Rt Hon Prime Minister and Secretary General of their party on social media. It is equally stressing to ask one to make a choice between the two (President and Prime Minister) and single him/her out for ostracisation by some overzealous colleagues supposedly because he/she favours one over the other! This is really absurd!

I am 100% sure neither the H.E President nor the Rt Hon Prime Minister approve of it. This is how anarchy crops into society. Juniors disrespecting and badmouthing their superiors and little small fellows loading it over everybody! A very dangerous development in the country which all Ugandans must pray about and guard against.

The H. E/PM conflict is pregnant with very ugly and nasty possibilities. I can state with almost religious conviction that there can be no winner in a fall-out between H.E Y. K Museveni, Chairman NRM, and Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi Prime Minister and Secretary General NRM.

The NRM, the government, the Opposition and the whole country will lose out. It is only Uganda's enemies that may stand to gain. So friends across the political divide, let us all pull in the same direction and urge and pray for our dear President to handle and resolve this delicate matter at the earliest. Let each one of us do their small part to put down this fire. This is not a laughing matter to play around with.

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