Property mogul and former lead financier of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party James Musinguzi Garuga has dismissed President Museveni’s claims that the latter plucked him out of the opposition and told him to stop supporting his rival, Dr Kizza Besigye. “Nobody took me out of the FDC party. I retired voluntarily in 2006,” said Mr Musinguzi, commonly known as Garuga.
Speaking at Kanungu Town Council where he had gone to commission reconstruction of three bridges in the district on July 2, Mr Museveni said he stopped Garuga from supporting FDC and Dr Besigye. Dr Besigye, the retired FDC president, contested thrice against President Museveni first in 2001, 2006 and 2011.
“There is Garuga, but in leadership he had squinted eyes. He went to FDC. And we said you are bringing Besigye, will he manage? We stopped and refused him and said where Uganda is, you can’t destroy it. He changed. There was also a soldier, Capt Charles Byaruhanga,” Mr Museveni told the gathering in Kanungu town council.
Capt Byaruhanga is Mr Garuga’s business associate and former MP for Kibale county in Kamwenge District.However, Mr Garuga told Saturday Monitor in an interview on Thursday that no one has the capacity to move him from anywhere. “If you know the Musinguzi you are talking about, I have no price. Nobody can take me from anywhere,” said Mr Garuga, a founding member of FDC.
Asked whether President Museveni was thus wrong to claim that he stopped him from supporting Dr Besigye, Mr Garuga answered: “I don’t know whether he said so. You are the one (Sunday Monitor) saying that. I haven’t heard him say so. I retired from politics to farming Look, how do you pull me out when I have retired? I have told you I have no price,” Mr Garuga stated without mincing words.Mr Garuga was a key sponsor of Besigye’s Reform Agenda which later became FDC after the 2001 elections. He continued supporting the Opposition and almost single-handedly sustained Reform Agenda and FDC financially, especially when Dr Besigye was in exile in South Africa between 2001 and 2005.
stronStill in touch with FDCstronMr Garuga said although he retired from FDC, he is still in contact with the party hierarchy and is often invited to FDC functions. “If you go to FDC and check, I am among the 10 eminent people in FDC. I am still a retired member of FDC party. So for you to say that I was moved out of FDC when I retired is a problem. There is no function that happens in FDC that I am not invited to, although I don’t generally attend them,” he insisted.
“I am a founder member of FDC. I formed the party and thereafter retired. I believed I would contribute enough to this country in that niche [agriculture]. There are enough crowds in active politics. There aren’t enough people in developmental politics (farming),” he added.
Mr Garuga, who preferred to discuss farming than politics, said through the National Agricultural Aisory Services (Naads), he championed tea growing in Kigezi sub-region and has boosted local people’s livelihoods. He said the rest of the country ought to borrow a leaf from that strategy. He said the boda-boda riders in Kampala could be useful if the government invested in agriculture and involved them in large scale farming. He said it is absurd that Kampala has been turned into a boda-boda city.
Pressed further to comment on the obtaining political climate in the country and particularly what is happening in Parliament, Mr Garuga likened the national assembly to a cattle market. He did not elaborate, but a cattle market is a disorderly and noisy place without defined command and control.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor