INSIDE THE GULU MEETING WHICH PAVED WAY FOR NEW PM NABANJA
By Mulengera Reporters
Days before the Tuesday release of the Cabinet list, Gen M7 prompted his brother Gen Salim Saleh to make last minute efforts to find some big fish from the opposition to be part of the new team. As directed, Gen Saleh rang DP President Norbert Mao imploring him to travel to his Gulu conclave. Mao did respond and while in Gulu Gen Saleh implored him to accept the position of Prime Minister of Uganda. Mao offered to consult and call back with an update but he didn’t, prompting a restless Saleh to call himself.
“I have thought about it and consulted widely but my answer is that I have no good news for you General. My position is it wouldn’t be helpful for me to join your government at this point in time when you guys are in the evening of your tenure,” Mao reportedly responded making renowned deal-maker Saleh very broken. Saleh told Mao of the frustration there was about failing to find some big-name opposition leaders willing to accept appointment and asked him for advice if he knew anyone willing.
Gen Saleh also informed Mao of the fact that he was already talking to outgoing Mukono Municipality Mayor GW Kagimu imploring him to accept the position of State Minister for Local Government. “But I’m surprised he isn’t showing any keenness about the position. All he says is that he fears to be attacked by Baganda and the general opposition fraternity on social media for being a traitor. Since you have declined it yourself, can you help me convince Mr. Kagimu to accept the offer and promise to help justify his decision like you did for Hon Nakiwala Kiyingi?”
Mao offered to try and get back to Gen Saleh but State House sources say he didn’t though he indeed spoke to Kagimu. “He told Kagimu not to accept because those things of going into Museveni’s cabinet had already caused DP more than enough PR problems,” says asource privy to everything.
In the end Kagimu rang Gen Saleh saying: “from the consultations I have carried out, the thing is risky and I don’t want to cause problems and hatred for my family because I’m an old man as you know and I already have enough political problems.”
Sources say that is how the frustrated framers of the cabinet ended up zeroing on Joyce Sebugwawo whose thing was largely coordinated by new Kampala Minister Minsa Kabanda who was directly supervised by Milly Doka Babirye Babalanda the newly designated Minister for Presidency. One of the disgruntled FDC drivers aided Minsa Kabanda’s mission to reach out and cajole Sebugwawo into accepting the offer. The driver is closely related to Minsa Kabanda through marriage. But Sebugwawo’s PA Asuman Ntale who is also one of the FDC local leaders in Rubaga was equally involved in emboldening his boss into accepting the offer. Oweek Sebugwawo, who is expected to fish away many FDC acticists into the NRM net, would interact with Gen Museveni through Babalanda, his PA in charge of political affairs. Hajji Moses Kigongo too was in the background.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that new Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, who during her days of being FDC party treasurer worked well with both Sebugwawo and the disgruntled driver, also played some peripheral role in accelerating the Sebugwawo political switch.
All said and done, multiple sources have all corroborated one fact that the failure by Gen Museveni and Saleh to get credible opposition leaders to accept the PM pushed them into the last minute decision to give the thing to Robinah Nabanja. They also tried the ANT National Coordinator Gen Mugisha Muntu who declined repeatedly assuring their respective emmissaries that returning to NRM could only happen over his dead body.
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