As the NRM party prepare for their NEC meeting this Tuesday 24th April to discuss issues ranging from poor performance in by-elections to term limits and possibly the retirement of President Museveni, eyes will also focus on the party’s powerful Secretary General and Prime Minister of Uganda Hon. Patrick Amama Mbabazi.
Vultures are circling over the Prime Minister’s head with determination to see him relinquish his position as the party’s Secretary General. They argue that the position of NRM Secretary General is too big and too important to be held by someone holding an equally powerful position of Prime Minister of Uganda and therefore want the PM to give up one of the posts. They attribute the recent party losses in bi-elections to the fact that the party’s Secretary General has no time to run party affairs.
Some of the attacks against the Prime Minister seem to be personal including claims that the Secretary General is hard to get and is virtually inaccessible.
However, the Prime minister has remained defiant and determined to hold all his positions. This is because many believe his accusers seem to have old scores to settle and their arguments cannot stand scrutiny under any measure. They seem to be elements within the NRM party still nursing wounds from the last party conference that elected Amama Mbabazi as Secretary General with a clear margin.
As a silent observer, I agree with the above observation because the Prime Minister’s attackers seem to ignore obvious facts whenever they present reasons to oust Mbabazi as Secretary General of the NRM party. Could it be really true that Mbabazi cannot handle both positions?
The undisputed answerer judging from history and what happens everywhere is that: ‘YES HE CAN’. In fact it is his accusers that are failing him and the party.
Let’s look at the UPC government of 1980’s. They had the late Dr. John Luwuliza Kirunda as Minister of Internal Affairs, MP for Kamuli, and Secretary General of the ruling Uganda People’s Congress and was also the chairman of JIK (Jinja Iganga Kamuli) caucus. Why? Because Dr. Kirunda was very intelligent man and Dr. Obote, the President trusted him.
House speaker Rebecca Kadaga is holding a powerful job as speaker of the House and is still Kamuli Woman MP. Almost all cabinet ministers and ministers of state are holding positions as MP’s for areas where they come from. Aren’t they performing their duties?
The President himself is the Chairman of NRM NEC, Chairman of the NRM Party, Chairman of the National Defence Council, Commander of the armed forces and was at one time also the Minister of Defence. Is there anyone claiming that HE is not, or was not doing his jobs?
Amama Mbabazi falls in the category of the Kirundas, Kadagas and Museveni. He is a well articulated, organized and commanding politician. He is more than capable of chewing gum and walk at the same time. It is best for any country that the most important positions are held by the most competent people, even in multiples.
The way things are at the moment, the NRM party should be grateful they have Mbabazi in those positions. He seems to be among the few they have got in the party capable of breathing with both nostrils unaided and can manage something close to full vision in both eyes. These are rare qualities within the NRM these days.
In plural politics, it is not possible to separate the ruling party from government because it is party members that must be government officials as well. That is the way things are. It is common to find party officials in cabinet positions all over the African Continent. In fact what is abnormal is that in Uganda some people are complaining about it. Do they really understand party politics?
From what I see, it is the detractors that are not doing their jobs and not Amama Mbabazi. The NRM party has a secretariat with 11 directorates. Real work for the party is done by the directorates and not the Secretary General. Hasn’t the SG got a deputy? Hasn’t the party set goals and targets and didn’t the SG oversee this process? Since the SG was elected, he has set the NRM manifesto which swept a whooping 270 MPs to parliament. This same agenda won the NRM party the Presidency with 63% of the popular vote!! At least 60% of local councils in Uganda are under NRM control. What the hell is wrong with these people?
Whoever is pointing fingers at the SG is in effect publicly announcing that they are not doing their jobs properly. They are supposed to report to the SG on progress made on party work and not knock at the SG’s office door accusing him of not working.
It would be nice for Uganda if the NRM could concentrate on issues relating to the country rather than waste time on petty issues like the position of Amama Mbabazi which were decided by the NRM delegates’ conference less than 2 years ago and has so far worked.
The Writer, Michael Senyonjo, is a political Analyst