Ever since he made a failed attempt to contest against President Museveni for the NRM leadership at the ruling party’s 2010 national delegates’ conference, retired UPDF captain DAUDI RUHINDA MAGURU II has battled against what he describes as injustices within the party.
When the party edged him out of the contest, Maguru, went to the High court to challenge the electoral processes in the NRM. Maguru and the NRM reached a consent judgment requiring the party, among other things, to form an independent electoral commission.
Last week, he ran back to court, arguing that none of the issues contained in the consent judgment had been implemented. In this interview with Deo Walusimbi, Maguru explains where he believes the NRM leaders are flouting the rules to serve their selfish interests: –
Let’s start from the 2010 NRM delegates’ conference. You sought to contest against Museveni. Who stood in your way?
I contested [against] Museveni and had been duly nominated by the NRM electoral commission. Under article 39 of our constitution, the chairperson of the party and the presidential candidate shall be elected by the delegates’national conference.
Also, under other electoral laws in the country, where there is more than one person coming up for any elective position, there shall be party primaries to determine who represents the party.
So, although I had been dully nominated for both chairmanship and flag bearer of NRM, when it came to the national conference, some elements in the NRM leadership decided not to present my candidature to the national conference. That is why I ended up in court.
You agreed on a number of issues with Museveni [in the out-of-court settlement]. What were they?
Since the issue of the flag bearer had not been resolved, we agreed to set up a committee comprising five people each side [NRM party and Maguru] to decide on it.
We concluded that the elections had been marred by chaos because of the weakness of the NRM electoral commission. So, to that effect, we agreed that we should start a process of putting in place an independent-and-free-from-manipulation commission with the capacity to manage elections.
But up to now, it has not been effected. Another pertinent issue was that we agreed that since one of the policy-making organs, the NRM CEC, had been elected fraudulently, we agreed that within 10 months after the general elections [of 2011] we shall call an extraordinary delegates’ conference.
What do you mean by fraudulent elections?
The delegates’ conference was not duly constituted and even some positions, like that of chairman, were not allowed to be contested when there were other four candidates who qualified.
Who are those people that blocked you from contesting?
I would say it was the secretary general Amama Mbabazi because he is the one who announced to the national conference that the post of chairman and flag bearer was not being contested for.
But to get back to the point I was making, the constitution says 40 per cent of the Central Executive Committee must be made of women and, since we did not fulfil that condition, because we have three women which constitute about 15 per cent, it means that that body is not fully constituted.
Are you insinuating that the 2010 delegates’ conference was null and void, so all office bearers in NRM are occupying them illegally?
Yes. They are occupying offices illegally.
And CEC is also illegal?
Yes, because it is not duly constituted.
What did you do about it then?
It is the very reason why we went to court. We resolved that we should hold an extra-ordinary delegates’ conference to elect those leaders. So we agreed that [the leadership] would be interim – until that extra-ordinary meeting – and it was supposed to be up to November 2011.
So from November 2011, according to the consent judgment, the NRM top leadership is there illegally and now they cannot purport to do any other act other than convening the extra-ordinary delegates’ conference, although it’s late.
The next CEC which will be elected from that extra-ordinary delegates’ conference is the one that is supposed to organise this one which they claim to be organising.
How would you respond to statements from a section of Ugandans that you are Museveni’s tool to hoodwink Ugandans about his ploy to rule for ‘life’?
Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. Everyone is free to speak whatsoever he or she wants, but time will have to vindicate me.
Actually, it is not true that I was given any money by either Museveni or the party because even the costs of Shs 70 million, which was supposed to be paid to the lawyer, has never been paid up to now and it actually constitutes one of the reasons why we are [back] in court.
Secondly, Shs 530m which I had injected in the other elections, which was supposed to be mine, which I thought I would perhaps give up in the interest of the party if the things had been sorted out, has not been paid. So, Museveni as the party chairman and [his] secretary general are highly indebted.
What are the real differences you have with Museveni?
I don’t like his leadership style.
How would you describe Museveni’s leadership style which you don’t like?
He exercises micro-management because he has killed the structures of administration in this country. He is everywhere and he wants to personally handle everything which would have been handled by other leaders below him in various government departments.
At what point did Museveni go astray in your view?
He has always been [astray] but the difference now is on the long period Museveni has been in power. The longer he stays in power, the more visible his mistakes are seen.
During the February NRM Parliamentary caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi, you were arrested and charged with illegal possession of military uniform. What happened to that case?
Those charges couldn’t stand because as a retired army officer, I am entitled to military camouflage. But I had gone to Kyankwanzi to inform Museveni that, ‘Sir, you are here [in Kyankwanzi] forcing this resolution of sole candidacy through but it’s illegal.’
But some people wanted to show him that they are doing some work and to make some scare. They had to come up with trumped-up charges of having military uniforms, well aware that it’s my entitlement. So, it collapsed.
Will you participate in the NRM delegates’ conference scheduled for December 15 in Namboole?
I will not participate in that NRM delegates’ conference, but [would participate in] the one which would be organised after an extraordinary delegates’ conference which we agreed on in the consent judgment. Otherwise, that one of December 15 will not take place.
What if court ruled against you?
I am certain court can’t rule against us because we didn’t go there to file a fresh suit, but to remind judges of their judgment which they gave us so, the court can’t rule against itself.
What do you make of the Museveni-Mbabazi rift?
Their fall-out is good for the NRM party and the country. Museveni and Mbabazi have spent long time together strategising on how to rule and every one of them has been an institution on its own.
So the moment these institutions, which have been working together fall apart, each system becomes weaker and none of these systems can sustain itself without the other. So, their rift will create an opportunity for us who are working for building a g party based on principles and systems to achieve it.
Source : The Observer