By: Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba
There was a time when Hon Amama Mbabazi had the option of choosing between serving as Prime Minister (PM) of the Republic of Uganda and NRM Secretary General (SG) but not both.
This is no more as he has been dropped from serving as PM by the appointing authority and now is left to serve as Secretary General of NRM.
The position of PM places the holder as number 5 Citizen, which also comes with a lot of authority, power and status. Never mention the security detail that includes lead cars etc.
The PM as Leader of Government Business has a special place in Parliament, actually a front seat. Will the SG of NRM have a special place in parliament among the backbenchers?
Where does the Secretary General (SG) of the ruling party lie in regard to status in this country? Are there benefits attached to this position like security etc. I never saw the SG of the FDC being guarded or having a security detail.
In Uganda, the secretariat of a political party can only function if the Chairman of that party wishes so. I wait to see whether the SG of NRM will be allowed to go around the country and conduct mobilization for the party.
Lest I forget that we have a Public Order Management Act 2013 that does not allow any political party or individual to address any gathering without clearance by the Uganda Police Force or so to speak Gen. Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police.
In the past, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of NRM has always cleared only President Museveni as the NRM candidate for President even when there were other candidates.
Knowing that the current SG of NRM is a loyal NRM cadre, I would expect him to respect the CEC’s decision when it later this year approves President Museveni as the sole candidate for NRM in 2016 Presidential elections.
In the coming weeks and months, I expect Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to gain a lot of support from NRM MPs especially those who are perceived to be Royal to Hon Amama Mbabazi.
For starters, just wait for the day he will be approved in Parliament or the day he will be sworn in as Prime Minister. This way, the open support for Hon Amama Mbabazi will fade very fast within NRM MPs and Cabinet.
Those who were worried about being dropped in a Cabinet reshuffle might survive. You see Ugandans know how to keep their jobs; they do it the Simon Peter style (John 18:15-27).
Also President Museveni knows how to give his perceived enemies an opportunity to repent. It’s also good not to open several war fronts at the same time; A Cabinet reshuffle that would have involved Hon Amama Mbabazi and others would have been hard to handle.
Yesterday, 20th September 2014, as I was watching NBS Television I was impressed by the kind of support Rt. Hon Ruhakana Rugunda got in Kibale.
This kind of support is what the NRM establishment expects from the PM whenever he moves to any part of the country especially in those areas perceived to support Hon Amama Mbabazi.
At the end of the day, he has to be seen working towards delivering victory in 2016 for the NRM Party.
As many politicians perceived to be aspiring for the Presidency including Hon Amama Mbabazi continue to focus on the youth as a vehicle to deliver them victory, the possibility of having a youth/young person as a running mate is increasingly gaining ground. It recently did wonders in Kenya and Malawi.
In the case of NRM, the President is likely to keep close to his chest articles 108A(1) and 108(2) of the Uganda Constitution.