Special Reports

Is Mbabazi Losing Grip On NRM?

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patient http://codefor.asia/wp-content/plugins/qtranslate-x/qtranslate_hooks.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The government’s deputy Chief Whip, http://dan-caragea.ro/wp-content/plugins/pt-content-views-pro/includes/update.php David Bahati, told journalists at Parliament on Tuesday that Mbabazi had finally showed willingness to relinquish the position.

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Mbabazi is also the country’s Prime Minister, a position that is heavily demanding in terms of physical energy and time.

“He (Mbabazi) is willing to relinquish one of the positions,” said Bahati in response to a question from a journalist.

Bahati further clarified that the party, after discussions in the National Executive Committee (NEC), “decided to leave the matter to be resolved between Museveni and Mbabazi.”

Asked when Mbabazi would be replaced, Bahati responded: “Another Secretary General will be elected at the next delegates’ conference either before the end of this year or early next year.”

In May 2011, Mbabazi was elevated from Security Minister to Prime Minister.

Addressing the NRM caucus at State House, Entebbe in the wake of the cabinet reshuffle, Mbabazi said he would surrender his Secretary General position to concentrate of his premiership with the view of ensuring government projects are implemented.

It appears Mbabazi did not live to his promise.

Since 2011, a cross-section of party has been demanding that Mbabazi paves way for another member to take over the position basing on three reasons.

One is that as a leader, Mbabazi is obliged to make good on his promise to quit.

The second is that the office of Prime Minister comes with heavy assignments which deny one enough time for party work.

Mbabazi’s rivals say because of lack of enough time for party matters, NRM structures have been inactive at a time the opposition is strengthening its foothold at grassroot levels.

“Amama Mbabazi is too busy with government work to concentrate on party activities. When Museveni appointed him Prime Minister, we agreed that he relinquishes the position of Secretary General but he later turned around, saying he was not willing to step down,” fiery NRM ‘rebel’ MP, Theodore Ssekikuubo, was quoted as saying a few weeks ago.

The third reason is that Mbabazi’s failure to leave the SG post has divided the party into several camps, with many arguing that as 2016 comes closer, there was urgent need to breathe life into party activities such as mobilization and recruitment of new members.

Those opposed to Mbabazi’s reign include Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kahinda Otafiire, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, Hassan Basajjabalaba, Capt. Mike Mukula, Janet Museveni and Moses Kigongo. All these are senior party members.

Mbabazi’s views

On his part, Mbabazi has labored to explain that he is not dying to remain the Secretary General and that he would quit if proper procedures are followed to replace him. These include convening the NRM Delegates’ Conference.

Interacting with social media enthusiasts recently, Mbabazi explained: “I am the Secretary General (SG) of NRM by a process. I was elected by delegates. I got 6,000 votes. My being a SG is a result of a democratic process and this is not disputed.

He added: “Even in 2005, we talked about it in NEC and with the president. The position of SG especially in circumstances where the structure of secretariat is not full constituted, a lot of his time is required for bureaucratic work of the party.”

“The President and I have no difference. A Secretary General, as the position is, who performs democratic functions of the party, would have little time to do other things – which is true,” he noted.

Mbabazi said NRM can adopt another option of South Africa’s Africa National Congress (ANC) where the SG is a paid as bureaucrat to do the work of the party.

“But the SG of NRM is not like that. What we need to do is to revisit this position as NRM. Do we need an SG who is political or a bureaucratic one? If we choose to have a bureaucratic one we need to change constitution, have elections and even appoint fully paid bureaucrats for the secretariat like directors for mobilization, information, administration, finance, cadre identification and recruitment.”

This SG post, according to Mbabazi, would devote time to the party work.

Mbabazi maintained that if NRM was to win an election in 2016, the NRM would have to deliver public services with perfection.

“NRM was elected on a manifesto and promised service delivery. We shall be implementing its pledges. The PM does the work of coordination, monitoring and evaluation. It’s a full time job that needs a lot of attention. I am not dying to have both.”

There has been talk in the corridors of power that Museveni intends to clip Mbabazi’s wing, first by weakening his influence in the party.

Others say if fired from the position of Prime Minister, Mbabazi would lose significant political clout as he would be reduced to just a Member of Parliament.

For Mbabazi, this is nonsense.

“The story that I am insecure in the position of Prime Minister if I relinquished the SG position is wrong. As a cadre, and a disciplined one, I perform what my party assigns me to do. If a party thinks I should just preside over government programmes to deliver services, I have no problem with that,” said Mbabazi.

“That’s not a big bother to me. Everyone should know that the NRM election fortune lies in delivery of public services. If it does not deliver public services then we will lose. We are determined for 2016,” maintained the Prime Minister.

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