It is still at least six months away to the general elections, or what appears to be left of it is tearing itself to shreds.
Not that it matters anyway; the party is now literally the preserve of two individuals: President Yoweri Museveni and former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi.
Whenever Mbabazi “coughs”, the NRM catches a chill. When he tried to go to Mbale to greet his supporters, first the NRM regime put heavy Police barriers in his way; then the NRM party, through the chairman of its electoral commission, Dr. (Or is it Prof?) Tanga Odoi, did a gerrymandering act of barring Mbabazi contesting the party’s choice of a presidential candidate. In the end Museveni emerged as the sole NRM party bearer.
One would have thought that, having locked out Mbabazi from the top post, things would quieten down; but no, far from it! There is a perception within the party, indeed the whole body politic and the public that, having been the real mover of the party and government while he was still there, Mbabazi maintains a heavy clout within the party. This was born out when it turned out that more than 120 Internal; Security Organization (ISO) operatives, were unceremoniously sacked because it was featured that they bore allegiance to Mbabazi.
Then “NRM youths”, ostensibly demanding the cash he had promised them but did not deliver, converged on his Kololo home with the intention of ransacking it. Mark this point: it is interesting that cash is being waved around with abandon in huge amounts; and nobody is asking where it has all come from!
Hard on the heels of this development was another, in which the resident district commissioners and their deputies, were reshuffled or sacked, presumably because they are going into politics. Nobody in his right mind believes this one a little jot. When he was the prime mover of this regime, Mbabazi was the job giver. So, most of these fellows were his protégés. It is the likely reason they have been removed!
As we are still smarting from these developments, one of the big occurrences it must be agreed about is the coming out of “His Excellency”, Brig. Matia Kyaligonza, to announce that he is jumping out of the NRM “yellow bus” to join Mbabazi’s “Go Forward” campaign. Undoubtedly Kyaligonza is an NRM “big fish”. Apart from being Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, he is also one of the NRM vice chairman for the Western Region. Moreover, he is one of the four NRM cadres who was sitting to determine Mbabazi’s fate in the NRM party.
What is NRM Chairman Museveni going to do about this? As president, sack him as the envoy to Rwanda? And as chairman: tell the Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba, to dismiss him from the party vice chairmanship? The second situation is already being played out with Museveni’s son-in-law, Odrek Rwabogo, being fronted to contest Kyaligonza’s vice chairmanship.
Be that as it may, Kyaligonza’s announcement to pitch in with Mbabazi must be rankling; but more importantly, it is pitting the party against itself. Forget the business about internal democracy; the angst between Kyaligonza and Rwabogo, sees to that.
By now declaring that Mbabazi quit the MPship if he wants to stand as an independent for the presidency, means that he must quit the party, too, since there is only one sole presidential candidate. This ignores the fact that there are still four “rebel MPs” out there, two of whom appear to be returning to the fold, while being in the position of still being rebels. So why can’t Mbabazi be the fifth rebel MP?
Given the aplomb with which Mbabazi is conducting himself, it is pretty obvious that the NRM finds itself in a bind. Any dismissals or NRM big wigs jumping the bus means that Mbabazi is taking a chunk of the party with him. As things are panning out, it is doubtless that there is more to come.
In effect it would appear that Mbabazi does not even need to rename his side of the
NRM party since he was intricately bound with its inception and progression. It maybe even redundant to kick out Mbabazi out of the bus; it will already have driven alongside him, anyway. The issue is watching and waiting how it will all play out in the end.