Dp Bosses Gang Up On Mao
As Nambooze Camp Expands
By Our Reporters
The DP tensions are increasingly escalating every passing day with more party bosses denouncing President General Norbert Mao. Many of them are increasingly embracing Mukono MP Betty Nambooze’s Bad DP crusade while denouncing Mao for letting down their expectations.
Even those that are reluctant to embrace Nambooze are quietly grumbling against Mao’s leadership insisting their party deserves better.
“Nambooze may not be a saint because of her unpredictability sometimes but she is right in most of the criticisms she makes against Mao,” said a DP elder who maintains neutrality between the two contending factions of Good & Bad DP.
2011 presidential candidate Sam Lubega is among those cautious about Nambooze but actively out against Mao. There is another group led by Derrick Mutema who commands a big DP following in Kyaggwe area. There is another group of DP old timers who recently disbanded their SDP party and returned to DP.
They include Mike Mabikke, Mohammed Kyambadde, Henry Lubowa and others. They are reluctant to openly embrace Nambooze but agree Mao has outlived his usefulness. This view is shared by many DP elders like Damiano Lubega, Sebaana Kizito, PK Semogerere, JB Kakooza, JB Kawanga and others.
You also have Erias Lukwago’s TJ Group members many of whom won popular elections as TJ Independents in 2016. They include Rubaga South MP Kato Lubwama, City Mayors Kawempe’s Emmanuel Serunjogi, Kampala Central’s Charles Serunjogi and Nakawa’s Ronald Balimwezo.
Patronized by ex-Kawempe South MP Sebuliba Mutumba, these are reluctant to flock with Nambooze but are aggressively despising Mao.
“To them the two-Nambooze and Mao-are bad but Nambooze is the less evil and more acceptable than Mao. Don’t be surprised when they eventually forge links with her to push him out,” said a source.
These TJ group members have organized a retreat at Old Kampala St. Matia Mulumba Catholic Church on 7th April 2016 where they will renew hostilities against Mao.
“We shall also make solidarity statements with what the Nambooze Bad DP crusade is all about,” said a TJ insider adding they expect over 1000 activists to converge at the anti-Mao convention. There are many reasons why TJ diehards are being careful about Nambooze.
One is her conduct in 2011 when the Ssuubi Pressure Group had just been founded under ex-Buganda Katikkiro Mulwanyamuli’s guidance. It had been agreed that (except Medard Segona whose Busiro East was a tricky terrain for a first timer at electoral politics) none of the Ssuubi diehards runs on DP ticket. That meeting was held a day before then DP Secretary General Matia Nsubuga closed the door for giving out the DP flag. The Ssuubi meeting was held at night on the day before Nsubuga’s deadline closed.
Nambooze departed from the group position and went to Nsubuga that very night and quietly asked for the DP ticket to retain her seat as Mukono Municipality MP. This betrayal hurt many Ssuubi colleagues who felt they had built enough momentum for each one of them to win elections without carrying the DP flag.
This is how Lukwago rejected the DP ticket for Kampala Mayorship and Masaka’s Mathias Mpuuga did the same and defeated JB Kawanga who was then incumbent MP and Mao’s national VP in DP. The other exception was Butambala’s Muwanga Kivumbi who strategically required the DP flag as he needed to galvanize every vote to be able to defeat NRM’s Faisal Kikulukunyu in this very rural constituency.
“Apart from Kivumbi and Segona the rest of Ssuubi guys were to reject DP flag because their areas are urban and they would win anyway. But Nambooze surprised all when she filthily reached out to Nsubuga and begged the flag.
She was good enough to win and it’s DP that needed her in Mukono than she needed it and boycotting DP flag was a strategy to weaken Mao’s leadership but Nambooze surprised everybody. It’s something that could have split Ssuubi but Mulwanyamuli and Besigye arbitrated and things moved on. This is why guys are reluctant to jump onto her Bad DP Crusade. She can be very ambivalent when decisive predictable leadership is required most,” explained a DP insider.
The second set back denting Nambooze was in 2015 when all anti-Mao forces agreed to coalesce around city kingmaker Erias Lukwago’s TJ Platform. Nambooze was naturally expected to be part of this move but was conspicuously absent.
“Not only was she absent as we drove to Luwero to launch TJ Platform but on the same day she drove to Katomi and attended the DP Mao delegates conference which the TJ Platform was out against for being sham and full of fake delegates. Not only did she attend but accepted a position on Mao’s executive and thereby giving the Good DP group the legitimacy they badly wanted. Nambooze is okay but that type of indecisiveness is what many of us are being careful about. She is so cunning she could fall sick, fly to South Africa for months and abandon the Bad DP crusade to colleagues yet she is the one who founded it and by the time she returns she may even be taking totally different positions. This is why people are cautious even when they support her cause,” explained one of the DP veterans we spoke to.
“It’s okay for leaders to change their mind but at least always have the courtesy to inform colleagues that guys I have changed my position so that they aren’t taken by surprise,” said a source explaining how betrayed then TJ supremo Sebuliba Mutumba felt seeing Nambooze at Katomi at a time her eloquence was much needed at the TJ launching rally in Luwero. Yet the caution with which many DP veterans are treating Nambooze’s crusade isn’t sufficient to make Mao safe and here is why.
ALONE and FRIGHTENED
The DP boss Mao, whose views we unsuccessfully sought throughout the weekend as he declined all our calls, has lost many former allies as a result of the fire Nambooze has ignited aimed at “making DP Great again [okuza DP kuntiko].”
First of all his, right hand man and long time funder Issa Kikungwe has lately been lukewarm towards Mao. Sources say the ex-Kyaddondo South MP is unhappy Mao trusts Mukasa Mbidde than the rest. This explains why the usually risk-taking Kikungwe has conspicuously been absent so far when his abilities are most required to counter Nambooze.
Some say the miserable votes he got for Mayorship in 2016 subdued him like never before and diminished his moral authority to speak on such matters. Whatever the case; Mao can no longer predictably count on Kikungwe.
The other person he has is Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu, a former Primary School teacher, who sometimes serves as Mbidde’s PA. The other is the sickly Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja who has lately been bedridden battling unknown ailments.
Namayanja is also a cautious Mao supporter as Mukasa Mbidde, her tormentor back home in Greater Masaka, is a leading influence on Mao. “Namayanja has never recovered from the shock she got when Mao-backed Mbidde thumped her in Masaka DP district chairman race in 2015,” said a City House source.
The other would-be Maoist is Bukomansimbi woman MP Veronica Nanyondo, a Mbidde protégé, who Masaka Municipality MP Mpuuga predicts may not get reelected given the strong challenge posed by more experienced Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, a leading Mbidde rival.
Gulu Municipality MP Leander Komaketch is the other Maoist still standing on top of Elvis Kintu and disputed SG Gerald Siranda. On the other hand, Mao has lost many influential DP leaders currently openly backing Nambooze’s Bad DP Crusade.
These include usually very cautious Medard Segona, Brenda Nabukenya, Kenneth Paul Kakande, Vincent Mayanja, wealthy DP legal advisor Sam Muyizi, DP’s only KCCA councilor Katabu Moses, Deo Kijjambu, Lulume Bayiga and John Mary Sebuwufu who over the weekend told us why they are out against Mao.
“It’s true all of us where at Nsambya for Nambooze’s Bad DP meeting because we can’t allow Museveni to take over DP leadership and run our party through Mao and Mbidde. This is the reason we are ready to take a bullet to ensure Mbidde doesn’t succeed. We have been patient enough and this time round there will be no looking back.
DP must be liberated from Museveni’s moles disguised as Good DP,” said Sebuwufu whose views epitomize elders JB Kakooza, Sebaana Kizito, Damiano Lubega and PK Semogerere’s thinking given his closeness to them. “You can’t liken what Mao and Mbidde are doing to what Semogerere did embracing Museveni in 1986.
Theirs was officially done and it was a party arrangement but this one is a personal thing and Mbidde’s deal-making shouldn’t be confused with dialoguing with government,” vowed Sebuwufu who was unusually in a combative mood. He was among those who were thumped by police at Nsambya as they gathered to welcome their leader Betty Nambooze.
The other surprise at Nsambya was Makindye Division Mayor Kasirye Ali Mulyanyama. He is the man Mao/Mbidde had previously deployed to serve as Good DP coordinator for greater Kampala area just like Deo Kijjambu is for greater Mukono/Kyaggwe.
Appearing on a subsequent radio talk show on Saturday, PPP publicist Saddam Gayira, a veteran Kampala opposition activist, corroborated Sebuwufu’s claim that some top DP leaders have become Museveni’s recruiting agents in opposition.
“You know we all supported Mbabazi under the TDA/Go Forward platform but I was personally surprised in a meeting with these DP colleagues. We had just completed the 2016 elections and we had a planning meeting at a big hotel on Sezibwa road [Near Nakasero State House]. The top DP bosses shocked me.
We were discussing what should be the way forward. We had delegations from other TDA groups and the DP group surprised all of us. They boldly said the way forward is to enmassely join Museveni’s government to access the money and fight him from within and take power. I looked at their naivety and left the meeting.
But before leaving I told them ‘guys you aren’t serious at all. How do you achieve that when Besigye, Bidandi and now Mbabazi were very powerful inside there and couldn’t achieve that even when Museveni trustingly put them at the heart of government?’ That’s the day I concluded that some of these DP leaders are just about dealing-making confusing it for strategy.” Gayira says that when he understood that those pushing dissenters like Nambooze to have dialogue with Mao and Mbidde were mistaken and talking because they don’t have the full facts.
MPUUGA, MBIDDE CLASH
Meanwhile Mbidde and Mpuuga appeared on CBS talk show on Saturday morning ably hosted by Makerere Masscom graduate Alex Nsubuga. They bitterly clashed with Mpuuga accusing Mbidde of dishonesty. To his credit, Mbidde maintained calmness and said the biggest problem was that Mao’s critics like Mpuuga don’t attend party meetings and prefer to attack the man through media interviews.
Mpuuga accused Mbidde of failing to have any activities to make the party visible since politics is perception. He faulted Mbidde for instead investing in falsehoods of always duping party members that “DP will capture power in 2021.” In his usual eloquence, Mpuuga also accused Mbidde of frustrating genuine party unity fearing it will return more credible leaders and political giants to the party and thereby diminishing his chances to succeed outgoing Mao as party president.
“Hon Mbidde let’s not operate on suspicions that so and so will return to DP and overshadow my chances to become president general of DP,” argued Mpuuga.
He also faulted Mbidde for conniving with police to brutalize party members including very old men at Nsambya “and I expected you to apologize to them in your opening remarks on this CBS show but you haven’t.” It was clear from the many DP stakeholders we spoke to that dialogue was least expected to heal the rifts between Mao and Nambooze faction.
Many faulted Mao’s faction members for not being reliable negotiators as they have never kept their word at previous negotiations. In fact Mpuuga told Mbidde: “We were with you in the last meeting we had on Tuesday trying to agree on the Nsambya meeting and we left thinking we had agreed yet immediately after the meeting you just went to police to unleash terror on fellow DP members! Hon Mbidde I thought you were going to act honestly for once.”
Veteran talk show host Peter Kibaazo inadvertently corroborated Mpuuga’s view when he told Radio Simba Gasimbagane listeners on Saturday morning that he was reliably informed the police statement prohibiting Nambooze’s Nsambya meeting was fine-tuned by Mao and Police boss Asuman Mugenyi just appended his signature.