The Observer (Kampala)

6 April 2014

Uganda: Mbabazi Youths 'Ready to Die'

Two NRM youth leaders freed from Luzira prison recently have vowed that not even fear of death will dent their support for Prime Minster Amama Mbabazi.

Adam Buyinza Luzindana, the NRM youth chairperson for Kampala, and Omodo Omodo, the youth chairperson for northern Uganda, were speaking, Friday, at a thanksgiving to celebrate their release on bail.

The two are battling charges of abuse of their authority.

The state claims they employed bribery to mobilise signatures for a petition demanding a delegates' conference to challenge plans to have President Museveni as NRM's sole candidate in the 2016.

The duo was last week released on bail by the Anti-Corruption court after a week in Luzira, hence the thanksgiving at Bukoloto, Kayunga district. Their trial begins on May 2.

"Our message has been clear. President Museveni has done well for the last 28 years but he is tired. He needs to hand over to someone who is capable of leading us," Buyinza said.

He said they would back Mbabazi if he seeks to become the NRM chairman and flag bearer. But Mbabazi has said he has no intentions of challenging President Museveni for the leadership of the party and country. Omodo Omodo said they were willing to die for the truth.

"I told the people who arrested me that 'you can lock me up physically but you cannot imprison my mind," he said

However, some religious leaders and elders at the function urged them to be cautious, warning that the youths could put their lives in danger.

"The person who you are fighting is strong. We still need you to be alive. There are so many politicians who have lost their lives. You are young boys; you should go slow," warned Sheikh Mugwanya, who led the prayers.

Luzindana said that while he respected the religious leaders, he was not bound to go by their advice. Other NRM youth leaders who attended the function included William Sseruyinda (central), Shakur Walusimbi (Councillor at Kawempe division), Norah Akwii (treasurer for the NRM youth league).

The guest of honour was Hassan Mukiibi-Sserunjonji, a youthful businessman. Mukiibi-Sserunjonji said it would be wrong for the youths to keep quiet when things are going wrong.

"When you educate your child and they earn a degree, as a parent you hope that they will get a job. But when they fail to get a job, then we need to put the leaders on pressure," he said.

Prison ordeal:

On the whole, the duo said that they enjoyed their brief spell in Luzira and they learnt a number of lessons.

"They treated us so well and we were not teased," said Luzindana. The duo said the only thing they missed were their freedom and families.

"But when you want to cause change, you must be ready to withstand all challenges," he said.

Over the past couple of months, Luzindana and other youth leaders have been outspoken against a resolution, passed by the NRM MPs at Kyankwanzi, endorsing President Museveni as the sole flag bearer for the 2016 elections.

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