Opposition Forum for Democratic Change on Saturday responded rather calmly to their former party member Beti Olive Namisango Kamya’s scathing remarks against the opposition on Friday, saying she is understandably entrapped in her current position as Minister.
Beti Kamya, who formally served as a special envoy of FDC President Col Dr Kizza Besigye in the mid-2000s is now the Cabinet Minister in charge of Kampala in the ruling NRM government, and working fiercely against her former party.
Yesterday, the minister called a press conference at her office and slammed the FDC, her former boss Col Dr Kizza Besigye, and the entire opposition who are rising against the removal of the Presidential Age Limit from the constitution.
She termed these as criminals, and advised them to mobilize internally amongst themselves to stop the constitutional amendment rather than trying to block the ongoing debate on the matter.
At the press conference, Kamya showed support for the amendment of Article 102 (b) of the constitution, and called from President Museveni to be allowed to rule for life.
“Ugandans should be wise and push for the constitutional amendment so that as long as God has given President Yoweri Museveni the strength to lead this country, he should continue,” she said.
Responding to these remarks today, FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Semujju Nganda said Mrs Kamya was currently ensnared by the regime and that he sympathized with her.
Nganda dismissed the possibility that Kamya – who during yesterday’s press meeting donned full colours of the NRM – was strongly attached to the ruling party.
“You cannot describe her as an NRM supporter. She is in a position where she has to do too much. She has too much to prove to her boss,” Nganda said while appearing on a radio talk show.
He added, “Betty Kamya is intelligent, she is not like (Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim) Abiriga who sometimes doesn’t know what he is saying. But now she is captured and we can only sympathize with her.
At the press conference, Kamya described President Yoweri Museveni as the most intelligent leader Uganda has.
“When we are in cabinet, he is more informed than all of us put together, on each subject, on each topic; he is a very special person.”
She also termed him as “a very tolerant person.”
This was however, the opposite of her view of the President back in 2008, who she then said was a plunderer and a foreigner who didn’t have Uganda at his heart.
In an article published in one of the dailies in January 2008, Kamya accused the president of amassing a lot of wealth by looting every sector of government.
She wrote, “Indeed, Museveni came holding “peace” and “sleep” while Ugandans held factories, banks, buses, airplanes, railways, co-operative unions, food silos, fuel reservoirs, hotels, schools, Kampala City and land.”
“He convinced us to catch up on the long eluded sleep while he sorted out things. We slept for 20 years. When we woke up we were holding peace while he held all our assets.
“Like Kenyans we are going to have to fight to extricate ourselves from Museveni’s paws now entrenched in our everything.”
She even questioned whether President Museveni was Ugandan.
“Watching how he has systematically destroyed every sector of this country; the civil service, education, health, industries, police, parliament, the executive – I am beginning to wonder whether a born national would do this to her/his country.”
She was arrested days after the article came out and charged before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court.
According to Semujju Nganda, Kamya told him she was called by State House and First family members over the article, among them Museveni’s brother, Salim Saleh.
President Museveni was also displeased and allegedly referred to her as “This daughter of an Amin Soldier.”
Years later Mrs Kamya launched a campaign calling for a referendum to strip the President of his excessive powers.
She contested in the 2011 Presidential elections on the card of her newly formed Uganda Federal Alliance party. She came 4th in race of 8, polling 0.66% of the vote.
From there on, she seemed to tone down her views on the President and the NRM government.
In 2014, she said she would be willing to serve in Museveni’s government, but only if she was appointed Vice President.
“I think I can manage the vice-president office in the Museveni cabinet. I would surely serve under that capacity,” she suggested.
Two years later in June last year, she was named by Museveni, Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority along with three other women from opposition parties.
A day after the appointment, she told Chimpreports in an interview that President Museveni had long asked her to join him.
“These people should know that the President in the past has offered me a cabinet position. In 2001 he offered me a ministry; even in 2011 he wanted to appoint me but I declined. I don’t think that Museveni is so petty that he would appoint someone minister for merely speaking against his enemy,” she said.