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Amama ‘Quitting’ Kanungu

It’s not official yet, but after representing Kinkiizi West in Parliament for 18 years, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is “not likely” to seek re-election in 2016, a reliable family source told The Observer on Monday.

Reacting to our lead story of July 25, in which we revealed that James Kamwesiga would contest in the premier’s constituency in 2016, the source said it was common knowledge among people in Mbabazi’s inner circle that he was leaving parliamentary politics.

The source confirmed that Mbabazi had “endorsed” Kamwesiga, his long-serving political assistant, to take over the mantle from him.

“There has been nothing formal so far but you can take it from me that the prime minister will not be coming back in 2016,” the source said.

Asked whether Mbabazi would consider running for any other political office or would simply retire, the source said “that bridge shall be crossed when we reach there.”

On Friday, we reported that Kamwesiga’s well-calculated announcement could mean one of three things about Mbabazi’s political future. First, that the prime minister could be retiring from active politics second, that he is seeking a higher office, probably the Presidency and third, that he is trying to test the waters by throwing a stone in the bush to see what emerges.

There had been suggestions that Mbabazi would contest in Kihiihi municipality (whose creation Museveni endorsed recently), but this may not be possible since he hails from Nyakinoni sub-county, which is outside the municipal boundaries.

Efforts to talk to Mbabazi were futile as his known phone numbers were either off or constantly engaged. Hope Mwesigye, Mbabazi’s sister-in-law, who is also a political confidante and a former minister for Local Government, said she could not guess what the prime minister was up to.

“Really I don’t know. I don’t come from Kanungu and I cannot tell who is going to stand where or whether Mbabazi will stand,” she said in a telephone interview yesterday. Meanwhile, Kamwesiga told The Observer yesterday that he had so far received overwhelming support from people, since he declared his intentions.

“I am getting endless calls from people, promising to support me,” he said.

He affirmed that he had the prime minister’s support. Kamwesiga cited the 2011 campaigns, where Mbabazi praised him at several rallies as a “loyal and hardworking cadre of the NRM”, who would serve selflessly.

He said he would launch his campaign officially after the NRM finalises its road map. He said he expected Mbabazi to grace the occasion as chief guest. Still, it will not be plain sailing for Kamwesiga. He will have to face off with other NRM contestants in the primaries scheduled for early next year.

“I must consolidate what has been achieved by the NRM in the constituency,” he said.

Source : The Observer

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