While in London, Bobi Wine spoke on BBC and among other things claimed that President YKT Museveni was behind the anti-gay bill and that the overall objective was to put him (Bobi) between a rock and hard place including complicating his relationship either with international partners or with the Ugandan populace. The legislation was popular with ordinary Ugandans among whom Mr. Wine is very popular but at the same time very unpopular with Western powers and actors amongst whom the NUP leader enjoys good support. So, if he ever took a stand, and required his roughly 60 MPs to do the same, Mr. Wine risked diminishing his acceptability either among Ugandans or international partners. Apparently, this is the dilemma he was trying to explain away during his BBC interview while claiming Gen Museveni was deliberately behind this.
The anti-gay law came as a private member’s bill and the mover was none other than Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa (whose 2018 and 2021 win in Bugiri Municipality was undeniably personally enabled by Mr. Wine) and yet the NUP leader’s comments on BBC risked portraying Asuman Basalirwa (already being branded a 5th columnist by many) as an agent of the Junta (as millions of opposition supporters contemptuously refer to Gen Museveni these days). This naturally explains why JEEMA political party, which has only one MP Asuman Basalirwa, is angry and feels betrayed. The JEEMA anger was last evening articulated by their long-serving Secretary General the very calculative Mohammed Kateregga who says Mr. Wine must publicly apologize to JEEMA. Yet there has always existed some uneasy relationship between JEEMA and NUP especially after Mr. Wine, who they first worked with under People Power, resorted to recruiting their own prominent members into the NUP party he subsequently incorporated.
Such members include Aisha Kabanda who now serves as Deputy SG for NUP and Woman MP for Butambala district. Her defection hurt many at the Mengo-based political party because they counted on her then impending Butambala win to grow their numbers in Parliament. Kabanda, who is married to Omar Kalinge Nyago a leading JEEMA ideologue and had been losing the Butambala race on many occasions, finally won in 2021 (courtesy of the Kyagulanyi wave) and is currently the Butambala Woman MP. Jeema believes this would be their win if Bobi Wine, who single-handedly delivered Basalirwa (who had failed many times), hadn’t upstaged them.
The first time the now very damaged politician became MP was during the by-election of 2018 but even during 2021, Asuman Basalirwa (who was already beginning to crack before voters) easily bounced back largely because of the Kyagulanyi solidarity. Good as this was, the decision-makers in JEEMA chose to continue hurting about the Aisha Kabanda loss and ended up vigorously fronting candidates against those fronted by Mr. Wine’s NUP in 2021 general elections. Kamwokya demanded that JEEMA’s candidates good as they were, would only benefit from the Basalirwa-like endorsement if they defected to NUP now that Mr. Wine, their PP partner, had a political party of his own.
Conservatives like Imam Kasozi, Hajji Abbas Kiyimba (PhD who is also an eminent literature Professor at Makerere), Dr. Kibirige Mayanja and others felt this demand amounted to kamanyiro/lack of courtesy and being ungrateful by Bobi Wine who they claim to have funded at some point under PP. That’s how the party invested in popularizing the minzaani/the weighing scale as their candidates’ symbol for 2021. And in some places, JEEMA had pretty good candidates namely Abdul Noor Kyamundu in Makindye, Siraje Kifamba in Rubaga South etc. Even in Bukomansimbi, they had good candidates with better pedigree than NUP’s political upstarts. Mohammed Kateregga had for 10 years (2011-2021) served as LC5 Chairman for Bukomansimbi and had now formidably offered himself for one of the MP slots only to be frustrated by the fact that the Kyagulanyi wave weighed in at the last minute resulting into his defeat.
In Bukomansimbi where he stood, Kateregga finished in number four with 3,076 votes trailing behind NUP’s Christine Ndagire Ndiwalana (9,617 votes-eventual winner) and NRM’s Ruth Katushabe (6,599) and NRM-leaning independent Idi Lubyayi Kisiki (4,238). So, JEEMA officially emerged from the 2021 electioneering season badly bruised and quietly blaming Kyagulanyi whose Asuman Basalirwa endorsement in Bugiri was rejected as not being enough. Thus the anger and paranoia with which Kateregga writes must be understood against that background.
Among the politically more sophisticated wing of JEEMA comprising of the likes of Omar Kalinge Nyago, Mr. Wine is considered unforgivable for failing to translate the political momentum he ignited into a protest movement to overwhelm and oust Gen YK Museveni. In fact, having concluded that Mr. Wine (who he had originally embraced) wasn’t the serious anti-Museveni politician he had initially taken him to be, the very clandestine Kalinge Nyago ended up falling in bed with Gen Henry Tumukunde (of the Kisoboka slogan) who was decisively demonized by the Kyagulanyi social media crowd throughout the campaigning period.
This greatly hurt Nyago even when his wife Aisha Kabanda (a former State House Secretary) Aisha Kabanda without much effort became MP and Deputy Secretary General of a powerful party called NUP. Then on Saturday 20th November 2021 (months after the January elections had been concluded), JEEMA convened Dhuwa prayers for their greatest orator Hussein Kyanjo (who was preparing to go to India for medical checkup) and invited all political party leaders including Bobi Wine. He didn’t turn up yet the likes of Erias Lukwago, Kizza Besigye, Paul Mwiru, Lubega Mukaku and others did. The event, at which Kyanjo made what was to be his last public speech on the Ugandan soil, was attended by top leaders from nearby Buganda Kingdom and the Muslim leadership at Kibuli. At that event, Kateregga in his speech threw veiled burbs at Kyagulanyi and his NUP party clearly portraying the extreme anger that had been bottling up inside him over the Bukomansimbi loss. Aisha Kabanda came but wasn’t recognized that much by Kyamundu (JEEMA Publicist) who was the MC even when Asuman Basalirwa was to later on console her by claiming she had officially represented the Kamwokya-based NUP.
There is also the issue of IPOD which NUP has all along demonized yet for JEEMA it’s a great platform which ought to be taken very seriously. Then very finally came the most recent EALA elections during which Kateregga stood as the JEEMA official candidate only to fail miserably. His defeat was quietly blamed on NUP’s official position to boycott EALA elections. Kateregga’s supporters inside NUP, like Abed Bwanika, even went to CBS radio to castigate the NUP boycott without which it was argued Kateregga, a Muganda and Muslim, would have stood a better chance. Bwanika argued the matter should have been looked at as a Buganda issue whereby the NUP-dominated Buganda caucus should have taken a position to deliver a block vote for Kateregga who fallaciously believes Mr. Wine hates him personally.
But renowned for giving a contempt card to those who attack him (especially small fighters with little name recognition), Mr. Wine will most likely just ignore Kateregga’s rant that was addressed to him but officially leaked to the media-while leaving the likes of Alex Waisswa Mufumbiro and other foot soldiers to respond. When the Mufumbiros unleash their venom, Jeema Secretary Mohammed Kateregga 9whose wife powerfully works in Parliament) will look for the tallest grass to hide in.
In his letter, Kateregga makes it clear that the stabbing in the back by Bobi Wine against fellow opposition leaders has become too much and JEEMA feels now is the time to call him out. There are also sentiments inside JEEMA that it’s no longer risky to publicly contradict Kyagulanyi (who they think is beginning to become demystified) as was the case on the eve of 2021 elections when whoever contradicted him paid a huge price by losing their respective Parliamentary races especially in Buganda. Innocent as they were, Mr. Wine’s BBC comments are now being (mis)construed by leaders in JEEMA as deliberately calculated at undermining Asuman Basalirwa and depriving him of the political capital he is supposed to have derived from the private member’s bill he successfully steered through the NRM-dominated House. Basalirwa, who will definitely struggle to retain Bugiri without Wine’s endorsement, is already being accused of being too close to some actors inside NRM including Speaker Anita Among. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 041 4674611 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).