Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was fired on Friday, but opposition politicians say they are surprised not by his sacking but by the former premier’s indecisiveness about his presidential ambitions.
Addressing journalists at the Inter Party Cooperation (IPC) office at Katonga road on Friday, former FDC President Kizza Besigye said: “What has been surprising me is that he has been cagey about what he wants because all along he knew that once [President] Museveni suspects that you have interest in occupying his office, you must be treated as an enemy.”
Besigye, a three-time presidential candidate, suggested that just as Mbabazi boldly fought to retain his position as NRM secretary general, he should have been firm about his presidential bid. The press conference was called by Besigye and other opposition politicians, including Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who used the event to announce the sacking of his deputy, Sulaiman Kidandala.
On September 19, Museveni sacked Mbabazi, and replaced him with Dr Rukahana Rugunda, who was until then minister of Health. Mbabazi has not declared his interest in Museveni’s job but his refusal to categorically rule it out is believed to have cost him his own job.
Mbabazi’s sacking came days after exiled Gen David Sejusa predicted the political end of the Kinkiizi West MP and NRM secretary general. Sejusa said that Mbabazi should realise that he had expired and that after being used, he was likely to be dropped like others before him. Besigye, a retired colonel, warned Ndugu Ruhakana Rugunda about the risks of replacing Mbabazi.
“I think Rugunda should know that the danger of the hunting dog is the same danger of the hunter. I think it would be unfortunate if Rugunda makes himself a subject of the mafia. He should realise that he cannot positively shape anything apart from rendering credibility to a fraudulent system,” Besigye said.
He challenged other disgruntled top politicians who are still in NRM to be bold and announce their positions.
“Come out and we rally together to change the country instead of coming to us at night because whether they like it or not, they are in the opposition within NRM,” Besigye said.
He added that when he first decided to challenge Museveni in 2001, there were no political parties but, rather, the Movement system. Nevertheless, Besigye said he was treated as an enemy “because the moment you are born, you start dying – the process is ongoing”.
Mathias Mpuuga (MP, Masaka municipality) said Mbabazi must have been naiumlve to foresee what could befall him, and is now paying the price.
“He should gather his remaining political strength and join the opposition though he should not expect a red carpet because ours is a political struggle.”
On his part, Jeema president Asuman Basalirwa said Mbabazi’s sacking was inevitable. “Museveni is a paranoid man who can either buy you or crush you. We should not be diverted by the act but try even harder to fight for the necessary election reforms so that we have a fair playing field in the 2016 general elections,” Mpuuga said.
Moses Kasibante, (MP Lubaga North) aised Mbabazi to declare his presidential bid so that the opposition decides whether or not to support him. Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (MP, Kyadondo East) said Mbabazi knew Museveni would fire him and he waited for that opportunity so that the president takes the burden of explaining his decision to Ugandans.
Source : The Observer