in the media
The former inspector general of police, Gen Kale Kayihura is being handled in line with military procedures, prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda has said.
Rugunda was responding to a question raised by Kawempe North member of parliament, Latif Ssebaggala during the prime minister's question time on when government plans to present Kayihura before court.
In his response, Rugunda said there was no need for worry, saying Kayihura is a senior army officer who is being handled under military procedures.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda
"Is a very senior officer of the UPDF and is being handled in accordance with laid down procedures of handling such an officer," said Rugunda.
The former police chief hasn't appeared in court since his arrest of June 13 and subsequent detention at Makindye Military barracks. Kayihura was picked up together with several police officers who worked with him during his tenure as IGP.
During a closed door meeting with members of parliament on security matters recently, President Yoweri Museveni is reported to have told legislators that the jailed former police boss side-stepped formal police structures and chose to work with civilians effectively crippling professionalism of the force.
Museveni allegedly blamed Kayihura for leaping to the defense of his juniors even when they had broken the law.
On the face of it, this was a traditional marriage (kuhingira) between former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s niece Bridget Birungi Rwakairu and Andile Ramaphosa, son of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.
But away from public view, this union offered another political opportunity to advance efforts to restore a political marriage through which Uganda’s leadership once enjoyed unquestioned say over government.
It is said that Bridget and Andile, quite unwittingly, offered President Museveni a way to reach out to Mbabazi, his former ally, long-time comrade in arms and enforcer-in-chief.
Amama Mbabazi (C) talks to President Museveni (L) as his wife Janet looks on
Museveni was among the guests at the highly billed ceremony last Saturday, August 4 at Mbabazi’s Kampala residence in leafy and upscale Kololo. He arrived with his wife, Janet at about 1:30pm and sat through the function till 10pm when it ended. Uganda’s president sat at the same table with the Mbabazis, facing the in-laws. Little interaction was seen between Museveni and Mbabazi although the former premier frequently exchanged pleasantries with Janet.
Museveni and Mbabazi fell out in 2014 after the former premier developed presidential ambitions. To head him off, ruling party MPs were whipped into passing a resolution declaring Museveni as NRM’s sole presidential candidate for the 2016 elections. This was during a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi.
Later in the year, Mbabazi was sacked as prime minister and one year after, he was ultimately kicked out of government, ousted from the powerful position of NRM secretary general. The party constitution was quickly amended, placing the powers to appoint the secretariat leadership in the chairman’s (Museveni) hands.
Andile and Bridget with their daughter
Previously, the secretary general was elected at an NRM delegates’ conference. Mbabazi still went on to run for president as an independent but finished a distant third. He lodged an unsuccessful petition in the Supreme court contesting the 2016 election results before retreating from public life.
But now, knowledgeable sources say Mbabazi’s skills as an able administrator, accomplished workaholic bureaucrat and effective political operator are sorely missed by Museveni.
Last Friday, Forum for Democratic Change party president, Patrick Oboi Amuriat shuffled leadership of committees held by the opposition in parliament, knocking out those who never supported him during the November 2017 presidency race. But the decision to purge was made before he became party president, as SULAIMAN KAKAIRE writes.
During the 2017 race, the pro-defiance FDC faction led by Dr Kizza Besigye was concerned that Amuriat and Mubarak Munyagwa running separate campaigns could divide their support and favour the then incumbent party leader, Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu.
“We banked on the group that voted Dr Besigye during the FDC presidential flag bearer race in 2015…We thought that if this number was to be divided among the two; it would automatically favour Gen Muntu who already had a consolidated figure that was between 400 and 500 votes.”
“It was to this end that Munyagwa pulled out in Amuriat’s favour.”
Former FDC party presidents Kizza Besigye (L), Mugisha Muntu (2nd left) and current president Patrick Amuriat Oboi (R)
Party sources say that the deal had a caveat: Amuriat promised to make Munyagwa opposition chief whip in parliament, replacing Muntu loyalist and Kira municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, among a string of changes.
This new shadow cabinet was supposed to be communicated around March or April. Besigye and group were reportedly careful not to totally alienate party members; so, it was important to have other posts open to ‘fringe supporters’
After Amuriat won, the sharing was expected as promised but this had to wait until last week. Their rival, Muntu, who had been defeated by 200 votes, despite being backed by 27 FDC MPs, had embarked on countrywide consultations.
Muntu was asking how his group would work within the FDC party where they have been slandered as moles and non-Ugandans? How is the party going to reconcile the defiance strategy with the strategy of exhibiting democratic credentials before taking power? And, what is the position of FDC founding president, Besigye in the party?
Besigye’s continued domineering presence bothers some of the Muntu group, who argue that if left uncontrolled it can be counterproductive to FDC’s internal democracy and potentially grooms dictatorship in the opposition.
After Muntu concluded the first round of consultations and some senior members were pushing for a split, Besigye initiated a meeting with Muntu and some senior members of his group, including Ronald Reagan Okumu (Aswa MP), who is FDC deputy president for Northern Uganda.
Muntu confirmed the said meeting that happened around March.
“Just know that the meeting took place and there were concerns raised that some members, who agree with me, were raising issues that should be resolved internally,” the retired general said this week
For fear of what the Muntu group was planning, Besigye advised Amuriat against shaking things up in parliament.
As they watched for Muntu’s next move, they also continued to assess possible choices. William Nzoghu was considered for the LoP position but he turned it down for fear of being castigated back home in Kasese by FDC supporters amongst whom Kiiza enjoys considerable support.
Buhweju county MP Francis Mwijukye was tapped next but he was dropped in favour of Gulu Municipality MP, Betty Aol Achan. Munyagwa turned down the chief whip post for fear of antagonising Muslims in Buganda amongst whom Ssemujju enjoys favourable reviews. He was considered for COSASE.
Habib Buwembo, who is the FDC secretary for labour, said Tuesday “the delay could be attributed to the president himself because members have always asked him why he was delaying to change the leadership. These people don’t agree with the defiance strategy and they are not only enriching themselves with these positions but they are funding activities that are against the party.”
Each of the MPs was reportedly contributing between Shs 1 to Shs 2 million every month towards Muntu’s activities. Around May, this information leaked to the Besigye faction.
It was also revealed that the Muntu group was closely working with the individuals leading the Democratic Party’s reunion and providing solidarity to Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi’s countrywide tours. The DP’s reunion has considerably undermined Besigye’s wow factor in the wider opposition.
Buwembo, who is an insider within the Besigye group, said these concerns were considered last week.
“On Thursday, there was a demonstration after a team from nowhere came and refused members from leaving the party offices. They locked us from outside. Even, the party chairman who was supposed to meet a doctor was refused from leaving before they could sort out their demands,” he said.
According to Buwembo, this group stormed the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi after Amuriat again delayed announcing the changes in parliament.
“The changes were supposed to be made on Monday but they delayed to make them due to some issues that were pending before NEC. Among the issues was the Bugiri municipality issue. It is the reason why a significant number of MPs were at the party headquarters.”
However, when the matter was not considered in the Wednesday and Thursday NEC meetings, the youths stormed the party offices on Thursday.
Buwembo says that the youths alleged; “there was some money channelled to Asuman Basalirwa. In fact, it was alleged that on the voting day, Shs 27 million was collected by that leadership and given to [Jeema party president] Asuman Basalirwa which he used to defeat our candidate [in Bugiri municipality]. The other allegation was that all the people who supported Muntu, except Kira municipality MP have never stepped at the party headquarters and yet they don’t even want to table reports to the party about what takes place in parliament.”
Consequently, on Thursday night Amuriat called up some of the individuals that were to take the positions. Among them was Ssemujju. Ssemujju was reportedly reconsidered for two reasons.
“One, he is the party spokesperson who had to communicate this decision or explain it to the public and if he is fired, it would be difficult to explain some of these things. In fact, some people said he would put everything about our move in the media. Secondly, having him in would be a counter balance of criticism from the Ssuubi group [a loose coalition of Buganda politicians including Medard Sseggona Lubega (Busiiro East), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala)and Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka municipality)],” FDC defiance faction sources said.
At first Ssemujju, turned down the offer to retain his chief whip post on grounds that he will not be comfortable working with people he does not agree with. Secondly, he does not believe in working with colleagues who will feel they are being undermined by him.
Amuriat, however, persuaded Ssemujju saying he sees him as the loop that will strengthen the new team since most of his choices were newcomers or weak. When contacted , Ssemujju refused to comment.
“I can’t comment about that, please. Call the party president. I was called like anyone else,” Ssemujju said.
When the NEC was summoned on Friday evening, only the LoP position was discussed. Abed Nasser Mudiobole, the FDC secretary for legal affairs, said “the discussion was only on the name proposed for leader of opposition. There was concern raised that why would you appoint someone from Acholi yet it has ever had that position and why not some other region,” Mudiobole said.
Amuriat stood his ground.
“I am appointing people who have been loyal to the party and these people have been despising me,” he said.
Some concerns were voiced that if this was the basis for changing the leadership, then Amuriat would be personalising the party or victimising people.
At this point, Salaamu Musumba, the FDC vice chairperson for Eastern Uganda, intervened by advising Amuriat: “Don’t explain yourself. These are your powers and you have used them.”
While announcing the changes on Friday, the FDC leader told the media that his changes were made so as to realign the parliament leadership with the defiance strategy. However, Mudiobole says that even if that is the case, everything must be done in accordance with the party constitution and practice.
“There was no minute or resolution made, contrary to the ideal way of doing things. Everything was rushed through NEC. The party constitution and practice has always been that a name or individuals are proposed, then they are debated by NEC because the practice is that the president appoints with the approval of NEC. If NEC is not allowed to debate or discuss the president’s appointments or proposal, then NEC, which is ideally meant to be a check and balance on the president’s powers, is being reduced to a mere rubberstamp,” Mudiobole said.
“There is also the issue of accusations being raised against some people. It is also fair to have them heard on those accusations before you turn the party organs into a jungle. Ideally, practice should be that you inform them about it and let them be heard about it.
“And this is not that people are meant to serve forever in whichever position, but let’s make sure that we follow the right processes and procedures because that is what distinguishes us from the crowd of other parties,” Mudiobole said.
On Monday, Kiiza told the media that she had learned of her firing from press reports.
PURGE NOT RESHUFFLE
Former COSASE chairman, Abdu Katuntu confirmed Amuriat’s line that this reshuffle was a purge.
“This is about purging those who don’t agree with the way things are being done. You cannot victimise one for holding a view contrary to yours. They formed this view since last year; that they will be sacking those who don’t agree with them,” Katuntu said.
“A political decision like this has political consequences and it can be responded to in a political way. Time is there to vindicate us. We are not fighting for positions but we should understand that this party was formed by those who were victimised for not supporting the removal of term limits. I hope we are not walking towards that path.”
On Monday, Muntu told like-thinking FDC members in Iganga that whatever decision they make must be made in a mature way.
“We have to be patient about this. From the 17 consultations that have been carried out across the country, there are voices that are saying we should leave and form a party of people who believe in the values we espouse. There are others saying that the issues we are raising can be resolved from within. To reach a good decision the results of the findings will be tabled before the party before a final decision, is made,” he said.
Jinja Municipality East MP Paul Mwiru, Muntu ally, told The Observer that the continuous victimisation of their group is pushing them to one end point.
“These people are showing us that our differences are irreconcilable. And some of us don’t believe in wasting time in a political formation without playing any role, which our colleagues want us to do. It is better to form another formation after all we have the same ultimate result of changing government, although we also believe in changing governance,” he said.
Whatever the outcome, the Muntu group seems to have gravitated towards Kyagulanyi’s (Bobi Wine) so-called ‘third way’.
When the break comes, those in the know say, it will be triggered a year to the elections to avoid the MPs having to lose their seats on account of the law on changing political alliances midterm. The group has close to 60 MPs, including some in the NRM.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” this is one of the memorable quotes on life attributed to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.
Such talk about a life well lived characterised the eulogies of celebrated public relations guru and cricketer, Yona Namawa Wapakhabulo, whose remains were laid to rest at his ancestral home at Mafudu Village in the eastern district of Sironko yesterday.
Namawa, son of former Speaker of Parliament and minister, the late James Wapakhabulo, passed on at Platinum Medical Centre in Kampala on the Monday evening. From the time news of his death hit the streets of Kampala, different people have described his life as a short but well lived one.
At the vigil at Machame Health Club, Naguru on Thursday evening and at the funeral service at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero on Friday, Namawa was described as a “a mentor, great listener and team player”.
At 46 and still rising in his fields of endeavour, this was certainly the wrong time for Namawa to die. We say this even when we know there is in most cases no good time to die.
Cause of death
Dr Josephine Wapakhabulo, the chief executive officer of the Uganda National Oil Company, said her brother succumbed to Infective Endocarditis, a bacterial infection that affected his heart.
One of those hurt by the early demise of Namawa is President Museveni, who told mourners during the funeral service at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero to stop describing such death of young people as a decision by God.
“This business of saying God has called him or her at 46 like Yona is not good. Is God short of company or what?” the President quipped, forcing the mourners to burst into laughter.
He added: “I feel people should go up to 96 so that we can get maximum value out of them. My father (Amos Kaguta) died at 96 and I had time to exploit him and his words helped me to write the Runyankore dictionary.”
The President, accompanied by First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni, re-echoed his message to Ugandans to always have routine medical check-ups so that they are not killed by preventable diseases.
Mr Museveni said he was told by Wapakhabulo family that the deceased had had a bacterial infection for some time, beginning from his tooth and ended up spreading to the heart through the throat.
“Our people should be conscious about health and I feel that God should call people for a good purpose. So, stop self-medication and go for regular medical check-ups,” Mr Museveni said.
The President, who narrated to the mourners the best school moments he had with the late James Wapakhabulo, promised support to Namawa’s widow, Ms Dorothy Nasozi, and the five orphans.
Namawa’s colleagues at WMC Africa Limited where he was a managing partner, said they have lost a person whose special leadership qualities have nurtured them into responsible people, promising to keep the agency strong in his absence.
“Yona was a mentor and a colleague who gave us freedom to dream and fly in our roles. He was quiet and hard in action. He never yelled at anyone even if you left his office door open, he could raise and close it. He had a gift to identify and nurture talent because he was a great leader who allowed us to challenge him,” said Ms Primrose Kiberu the company’s chief operations officer.
The widow, Ms Nasozi described her departed husband as a God fearing person who was Born Again and humbled himself before the creator despite his education and background.
Ms Nasozi describe their nine years of official marriage as “good times” despite challenges they have passed through in making a family.
“It has not been an easy time for me but I am Born Again, so I praise God for my husband’s life. He’s been an exceptional man, a prayer warrior and loved the Lord with all his education and background. I have the hope to meet him because he is with the Lord now,” a smiling Ms Nasozi said.
The orphans led by Mr Myles Mukisa Wapakhabulo praised their father as one “who you would call when you don’t have something and it is there”. He said as children they have not cried because they have a reason to celebrate the life of their loving father who every Saturday found time to take them out to play and eat foods of their choice.
Rev Can Geoffrey Byarugaba called upon the mourners to always do perfectly to the expectation of God who created man in his image and gave him dominion over nature. He said people should have a choice of whether their next lives will be in the Kingdom of God or hell.
While at the night vigil at Machame Health Club, Naguru on Thursday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda confessed to the mourners that the WMC Africa team that worked with Namawa was “unbelievable” after they said he had tuned them to be good time keepers by being in office by 7am.
“What kind of transformation is this for such young people to be in office at 7am? The earliest I reach office is 9am and for sure, I will go to them for timekeeping lessons,” Dr Rugunda said.
Led by Dr John Kimbe, the alumni of King’s College Buddo who went to school with the deceased handed the famous school neck tie to the widow saying, Buddonians as they are known, never leave their own behind.
ABOUT YONA NAMAWA
Born on January 8, 1972, Yona Namawa Wapakhabulo went to Arusha School, Boroko East Primary School, Port Moresby High School, Kings College Budo, Makerere College School and Viterbo University, Wisconsin in USA.
A specialist in corporate communications, public affairs and crisis communications, Namawa joined WMC Africa Ltd in 2003 as the public affairs manager and rose to managing partner.
He worked on key strategic initiatives in Uganda and across the region in both the public and private sector for clients such as e Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stanbic Bank Uganda, MultiChoice Uganda, MTN Uganda, DFCU Bank, Heritage Oil Ltd, Tullow Uganda, British Airways, Umeme.