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NRM Now Boasts of New Historicals, Says Mulongo [interview]

Bubulo East MP Simon Mulongo is an ardent supporter of NRM, and a former delegate of the constituent assembly that drafted the 1995 Constitution. In this recent interview, Mulongo spoke to Deo Walusimbi about the sacking last month of Amama Mbabazi as prime minister. Excerpts:

What is your take on Mbabazi’s sacking?

Many people have got excited following the changes surrounding the former Prime Minister Mbabazi, but to me, I don’t see much hullabaloo about it.

Why?

Because, one the president did what is within his powers, and Mbabazi knows this well. Secondly, the circumstances under which he [Mbabazi] left office followed a long period of build-up and even he must have expected it to happen at a particular point in time.

Being a person who has been around for a long time, he knows that this is not the end of his life he has a life to lead politically, and he is still the secretary general of the NRM party. And like anybody else, he will sit down and reflect in what is known as the after-action review why did it go like this? And are there lessons to learn?

Some have said that Mbabazi will create problems for NRM how would you predict his life after sacking?

I know most people are foreseeing the NRM party with problems they are foreseeing Amama in trouble, but I doubt that.

Why would you doubt those aspects?

Amama is a very cautious and shrewd-contriver who always acts as a smooth operator. So, I don’t think that he will take that kind of action of causing trouble and chaos, but I see him trying to reconstruct himself.

How could he do that?

I think he is going to work on [placating] his political neck, so that he can prepare his ambitions whatever they are whether nationally or locally, because he was somehow disgraced by being sacked.

It could have been different if he had resigned, and it could have been different if the president had said that I am relieving you of this duty of prime minister pending reassignment. So, without that, it means that he must prepare himself.

How does the new premier Ruhakana Rugunda compare with Mbabazi?

He [Mbabazi] had the capacity to contain the opposition, there is no doubt about it. And he has had a wealth of experience. But equally, there is a blessing of bringing in new elements.

Rugunda is not like Amama, but he is a resourceful manager, peacemaker and team player, and that will bring in a new style of managing government business in the House.

I see Rugunda chipping in with colleagues to move things, and this is what I would expect any leader to do, but I didn’t see this with Amama. You won’t go to his office and see him the way you are and when you want him, he doesn’t mingle, because he is aloof.

What do you make of the constant falling out between President Museveni and his NRM historical colleagues?

It’s true that a number of historicals are going one by one, but to me, that is only natural. It’s like saying that why is your skin or hair shading off it does so because it’s growing up.

So, natural things are very similar to the administrative system and as such, people have to come and go.

But where do you see the strength of the NRM revolution without its pillars?

The strength of the revolution lies in maintaining the critical mass of manpower, not maintaining the initial manpower. If the system maintains the initial manpower [without] taking in additional manpower, that is a problem.

So, the question should be, is the system maintaining the new manpower, and if it wasn’t so, that would be the worry. But to say that the old people are going out is normal.

But they are being phased out by one old blood that has been at the helm of NRM and the country for almost 30 years.

But the person at the helm of the system is managing it the system has the capacity to acquire new [blood] and know where to go. So, managing the system is the science of analysing different issues, putting them together and it works out.

For example, why do you want historicals to be the ones manning senior positions and whom do you refer to as historicals? Are historicals people who joined in 1981-1985? What about those who joined between 1990 and1995?

I think historicals are people who have stayed long enough and that should not be restricted to those who joined in 1981-1985 because there are new ones who are coming on board.

To me the question of historicals was revised in the National Resistance Council and the president in his own words said that even the historicals must have an end. He said there were those in the bush and those who were in government departments. So, to me, those people who joined NRM ten years ago became historical.

Source : The Observer

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