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Presidential contest for 2016 may be bloody

Ikebesi Omoding

Presidential contest for 2016 may be bloody

The NRM caucus in Kyankwanzi, that “elected” President Yoweri Museveni to be the 2016 party flag bearer for the general elections, is coming under criticism from within the party ranks. It indicates the Museveni endorsement is far from over.  Come the NRM party delegates’ conference just before the 2016 deadline, and we are likely going to witness a bloody outcome.

This is because the NRM has been known for violent confrontation with its “enemies”. And now this is going to carry over to its own internecine conflict. It pits Museveni against his long-time lackey, Brig. Muhoosi Kainerugaba, as his successor.  The faint-hearted in the party have melted away to Museveni’s belligerent staring-down on them. Not so Mbabazi.

Indeed, at one time in a campaign appearance for Mbabazi in his Kinkizi constituency, Museven made the apparent Mbabazi endorsement when he turned to him at the podium before the crowds,and said something to the effect that, Mbabazi would be a future NRM “presidential material”..

Mababzi lapped up this and it has gone to his head. Probably, it did not occur to him at the time that Museveni would change his mind again. So to gird himself against such changes of mood from his boss, he assiduously had been prepared for such a move.

In all the positions Mbabazi has been holding, he has built his own following that answers personally to him; whether it is in the intelligence, army, local governments or wherever. This was evident even in the recent Kyankwanzi meet. To break down this following, Museveni used an outflanking move that involved the Anti- homosexuality Bill, recently passed by Parliament.  And the MPs, too, saw something for themselves in the situation and “cashed in” on the issue. Mbabazi appeared to have fallen flat on his face as he had initially opposed the Bill.

But Mbabazi has recovered quite fast with the endorsement of the youth wing of the party for his presidential ambitions.  It means that Kyankwanzi was probably Round One of this do-or=die contest for the presidency of Uganda.  The NRM youth position is gearing to pass as Round Two.  The last round will most likely be the NRM delegates’ conference just before the 2016 presidential campaigns.

In a face-off with Museveni sometime ago, Mababzi is said to have told the president that he could take away the premiership from him since it was an appointive post. But he pointedly told Museveni that he had been elected the secretary general of the party – and this Museveni could not take away from him. It is interesting now that the youth wing of the party is fronting him for the chairmanship of the party, too.

It is the mandate of the secretary general of the party to run the affairs of the party. As such Mbabazi is well-placed to direct the manner in which the NRM is going to shape up for the 2016 polls. This is clearly indicated by the action of the youth wing. And this is the start of drawing out the knives.

In his power position Museveni is likely going to try to move against those who are supporting Mbabazi using his pre-eminent position as the authority of the power. But Mbabazi is going to whittle away at this show with his control of the party as he is already using the “constitutional” argument of the party, that the youth wing is playing out.

It is going to be “interesting” to witness this contest.                    



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Ikebesi Omoding is the acclaimed author of a weekly column titled: From the Outside Looking In

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