DEVELOPING STORY: DEFEATED TOP MINISTERS ‘CONSIDERING’ DEFECTING TO BOBI’ NUP PARTY
By Mulengera Reporters
At their ongoing informal meetings and discussions, continuing to be held in different homes in Kampala, a number of defeated Museveni Ministers, incumbent MPs and LC5 Chairperson loyal to the ruling NRM have considered a number of options regarding their respective political futures. And joining Robert Kyagulanyi’s NUP, whose umbrella/minvuli wave swept them off their seats, has been reflected upon as one of the viable options.
“We are continuing to look at a number of options including pressurizing Mzee to use local government Minister Magyezi to expedite the creation of new constituencies so that we stand there and try our lack again but then there is this lingering fear among members that the Kyagulanyi wave, mostly deriving from growing urbanization and youth voting population, isn’t about to go away. Consensus at our discussions is that there is no way any of us, carrying the NRM flag, can stand any chance getting elected in these Buganda areas notwithstanding the fact that were the invincible darlings of the voters until very recently,” says an outgoing NRM MP from Buganda sub region who has been to a number of these strictly very informal discussions in fellow defeated elected leaders’ homes. The legislator too has hosted a few meetings at his own residence and confirms some of the defeated ministers have been active participants.
“We were majorly defeated by young voters aged 18-20 years and these are first time voters to whom Museveni’s message of we fought doesn’t appeal at all. At our meetings, we have reflected on the fact that by 2026, the anti-Museveni wave will be even worse because the children who are now 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17 who were unable to vote in 2021 on the account of age will all be voters implying those of us sticking to Museveni and NRM won’t be able to campaign anywhere and the truth is by that time, the NRM will struggle to even get candidates because standing on its ticket is going to increasingly be risky just like has been the case with Obote’s UPC in Buganda.” The defeated incumbent MP, whose information was corroborated by other sources we spoke to, adds that these informal meetings or discussions have also been attended by some of the defeated NRM candidates who stood for local council positions.
“At our recent discussion, a female minister told us she was regretting why she didn’t abandon NRM and join PP [later NUP] which was increasingly becoming popular in her district as early as 2018. We agreed that we need to consider joining NUP and offer leadership from within so that in the end Kyagulanyi doesn’t use his popularity to incite the public against us both in politics and business.” The MP says that if they had joined early, there is no way Kyagulanyi, whose poverty-stricken candidates struggled to even have campaign posters, would have denied them ticket or flag given their pedigree as senior and more prolific politicians. “We no longer consider Musevenism good enough to secure anyone reelection and we regret not having realized that early enough.”
That these discussions are not merely a Buganda affair because sometimes some of the defeated Musevenists from Busoga too have been attending and sharing similar views about the future of Musevenism in the politics of Uganda. The source adds that: “For many of us the choice is now clear; either embrace NUP or forget about ever winning any elective positions in Buganda. We aren’t very enthusiastic about pushing Mzee to create more constituencies for us because that will only favor NUP and the wider opposition because those young people will once again sweep everything now that they are even more energized by the [Thursday] 14th January outcomes.”
The defeated/rejected NRM MP adds that many of them are still young with many more years to live and to comfortably live, in whatever way they choose to, they will need peaceful coexistence with the NUP axis whose support and visibility is everywhere in especially Buganda and Busoga sub region townships. “Which businesses are you going to do, assuming you left politics and concentrated on private work, in this region without being on good terms with those people and its sustainable? The bigger point is we must find some way of peacefully coexisting with Bobi’s people because they are the majority in many of these trading centers and townships meaning being a Museveni loyalist can’t be enough anymore.” Sources add that some at the meetings have suggested caution and clandestine discussions as they wait to see which plans Gen Museveni has for them from May on wards.
“Some are saying even when we intend to join NUP and use our seniority and financial muscle to constitute the dominant view and tendency in the party, we must find some way of explaining ourselves to Mzee so that he understands this going to NUP isn’t about just us but preservation of his legacy and NRM’s too because once we are a dominant view inside the party, we can ensure the Kyagulanyi crowd diminishes it’s hostility to Mzee as a person which is good for his legacy in the long term. We can even be in NUP without being very extremist in our opposition to Mzee or even NRM because Uganda still remains our country.” These defeated NRM MPs, LC5 Chairpersons and Ministers are also referencing on former Musevenists like Aisha Kabanda (Butambala MP elect), Manjiya County’s JB Nambeshe, Makindye East MP-elect Derrick Nyeko and Kasanda North’s Patrick Nsamba as model political strategists whose case study merits reflection.
Whereas Nsamba quit over the Togikwatako vote, defected to PP/NUP and went ahead to get reelected in rural Kasanda having defeated a strong NRM syndicate, Aisha Kabanda (now NUP Deputy SG) became disgruntled with failure by Museveni to adequately empower her and the Kyagulanyi wave made her MP, something Musevenism had failed to do for her since the year 2011. She had been contesting as an NRM person only to get betrayed by intriguers in the NRM. She is finally MP on the NUP ticket and doesn’t regret leaving NRM. Nambeshe equally parted with NRM/Museveni over the Togikwatako vote and despite his constituency being very rural in Bududa district, he was reelected last month.
Derrick Nyeko, whose mother is a staunch Musevenist in Makindye, was NRM councilor there but correctly read the writing on the wall, embraced Kyagulanyism and is now MP-elect for Makindye East, which he naturally couldn’t have achieved if he didn’t defy his equally disgruntled mother and stayed in the NRM. There is also Mukono’s Rev Bakaluba Mukasa who gambled and quit NRM protesting what he called life presidency and he is now the LC5 Chairman-elect for Mukono district on the NUP ticket. He is entering office with a council clearly dominated by NUP councilors. Out of the 40 councilors NUP’s Bakaluba will be serving with, only three belong to Gen Museveni’s NRM party. Majority are NUP implying things are going to be a lot easier for Bakaluba as NRM can’t even use a hostile council to frustrate him. Gen Museveni’s government can only starve his administration of money to finance service delivery just like they keep doing to frustrate Erias Lukwago in Kampala.
The defeated Ministers, MPs, LC5 and LC3 Chairpersons at the informal meetings have been referencing on all these examples and majority of them consider the experiences of the Bakalubas a great source of political inspiration as they ponder defecting to NUP in large numbers just like former DP MPs did on the eve of last year’s nominations exercise by the EC. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).