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“I am in NRM which is a political party, it is NRM which determines who its candidates will be and I cannot campaign to be a candidate,” Mbabazi said while responding to the new Head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda, Kristian Schmidt on Monday.
“We have the Central Executive Committee, the National Executive Committee and the National Conference which come up with names of candidates but if the party chooses me to be a candidate I cannot refuse,” he said.
During an interaction with social media enthusiasts at his second office in Nakasero on Saturday morning, Mbabazi said “as far as I am concerned, the one who will contest on the NRM ticket will be determined by the party.”
He added: “If the party thinks I have all the qualities needed, I will stand.”
In fact this was the first time Mbabazi was openly speaking about his presidential ambitions.
Pressed further by this Corp on whether it was his desire to compete for presidency come 2016, Mbabazi said he did not want to discuss such ‘private matters.’
He, however, added: “I am a disciplined cadre of the Movement. I act on the command of the NRM.”
There have been reports that Mbabazi is bracing for the 2016 race, a move that has intensified heat and political jostling in the corridors of power.
Museveni has not yet showed any indications that he intends to retire soon, raising fears of a possible stiff challenge from his powerful Secretary General and former Defence Minister.
Some of the top NRM officials who are eyeing the highest political office in the land include Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
Earlier today, Schmidt had paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at his office and asked whether the media reports that he intended to stand for President were true.
The two discussed a wide range of issues, including preparations for the 2016 elections which Schmidt said the EU was concerned about.
He hailed the Marriage and Divorce Bill in its current form but said the Anti-Homosexuality Bill should be shelved because many Ugandan homosexuals were running away from stigmatization by seeking asylum in Europe.
Mbabazi assured the envoy that adequate electoral reforms would be undertaken to create public trust in the electoral process, beginning with constitutional amendments. He said proposals on the composition of the Electoral Commission would be debated.
“The Electoral Commission has made proposals, we have some reforms already made and are determined to have an electronic voter register,” he said, adding that there was need to amend the provision for bail to capital offenders through Parliament or a referendum.
Schmidt, a Danish national, replaced Roberto Ridolfi as the new leader of the European Union Delegation in Kampala. He said this was his first posting as ambassador in Africa after working in various dockets around the world.