29 May 2014

Uganda: Museveni Vows to Crush Rebel Youths

President Museveni on Monday urged a group of youths leaning toward his prime minister to toe the party line or be dealt with. Addressing NRM youth leaders from the central region at State House Entebbe, Museveni, according to our sources, said he was tired of the conflicting messages coming from the party's youth league despite his concerted efforts to reunite the feuding members.

"We have had three meetings now but they have refused to change," Museveni reportedly said, likening himself to a doctor who injects a patient once, twice and even three times, without any improvement.

When the health condition can't improve after all that, Museveni said in a veiled threat, the doctor has to look for other ways of treating the patient. Museveni's comments were provoked by reports of continued in-fighting within the NRM youth ranks.

Only two of the self-confessed pro-Mbabazi youths attended this meeting: William Sseruyinda, the NRM youth league vice chairman for central Uganda, and Shakur Walusimbi, a councillor representing the youth in Kawempe division. The vocal Adam Luzindana Buyinza, youth league vice chairman for Kampala, was conspicuously absent. With Luzindana absent, the two youths had a torrid time, according to our sources.

At Kololo ceremonial grounds, as they waited for a van to drive them to Entebbe, some pro-Museveni youths tried to force these two to wear T-shirts bearing Museveni's portrait. The duo refused and later opted to travel to Entebbe separately.

Once at State House, the two were dragged to the microphone by Joseph Mukasa Sewava, the NRM youth chairman for Wakiso, and told to apologise to Museveni and their colleagues. Again they refused, with Sseruyinda saying it would be wrong to crucify him because of what he believes in. Our sources say Sewava asked Museveni to give him Shs 16m to neutralise the pro-Mbabazi youths.

Another youth leader, Abdu Kitatta, the chairman of boda boda cyclists in Kampala, also demanded facilitation to promote the Museveni sole candidacy project in Lubaga division. However, before he could complete his submission, another youth leader shot up and claimed that Kitatta was no longer a youth.

"He is 45 years; what is he doing here?" the youth leader asked, as a verbal exchange ensued. President Museveni restored order and asked Kitatta to complete his submission.

On two occasions, the youths knelt down before the president. On the first occasion, it was to express their support for the Kyankwanzi resolution endorsing him as sole NRM flag bearer in the 2016 elections. On the second occasion, the youths were asking for facilitation to popularise the Kyankwanzi resolution, after which they burst into, "Mzee Oyee!".

According to our sources, President Museveni did not respond to their requests. He simply gave them a lecture on working hard and exploiting the available economic opportunities to better their lives. Museveni also said the Naads programme would be disbanded. He said army veterans led by his brother, Gen Salim Saleh, had demonstrated exceptional delivery of services unlike Naads.

The Monday meeting kicked off at 11:30am and ended at 9pm. At the end of the meeting, each member got Shs 350,000 as transport refund.

Other meetings:

A day after meeting central Uganda youths, Museveni turned to those from western Uganda. These were drawn from Ankole, Bunyoro and Kigezi sub-regions. According to our sources, the president was introduced to a group of pro-Mbabazi youths who had reportedly 'crossed' to his side. Museveni told the youths to work hard and avoid being money-minded.

"Avoid this endless bickering. It will take you nowhere. In the NRM, we work as a family," Museveni reportedly said.

Like he had told the youths from central Uganda, Museveni explained to them why the Naads programme needs to be scrapped. He said government had sunk billions into the programme with little to show. Our sources said the youths accused Ronald Kibuule, the minister of state for Youths and Children Affairs, of being ineffective.

But Kibuule, who attended the meeting, said many youths did not want to seek information about how they can improve their economic welfare.

"Is there any person who has approached me and I have not helped?" Kibuule asked.

The western youths also endorsed the Kyankwanzi resolution. On Wednesday, Museveni continued his unrelenting bid to mobilize NRM youth leaders by meeting those from eastern Uganda. Details from that meeting, which took place in Mbale, were still scanty by press time.

Meanwhile, David Kabanda, the NRM youth chairman for Sembabule, told The Observer on May 29 that he had received information that Mbabazi plans to meet a group of NRM youths in the district today, May 30.

"He is working with one Titus Banyabwana from Mawogola and they are organizing a meeting at Sembabule playground," Kabanda claimed.

"But they have not informed me or Sam Kutesa, the NRM district chairman."

Kabanda said if such a meeting goes ahead, his group will confront Mbabazi and his supporters. However, Josephine Mayanja-Nkangi, Mbabazi's personal secretary, said she was not aware of any scheduled visit to Sembabule by the prime minister.

"Mbabazi will not go to Sembabule tomorrow or the next day, and whoever is telling you so is lying.

Tell them that they must be confused," she said yesterday.

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