Former Ugandan PM to challenge Yoweri Museveni in poll

Former Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Political alliance says that if successful, their candidate would serve only one term. FILE PHOTO |

What you need to know:

  • Security forces surround Mbabazi’s home after he announced his candidacy.
  • Parties have formed a coalition for ‘the final push’ against Museveni.


The shell of silence that former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi had built cracked at dawn on Monday when he announced that he will stand for President in 2016.

As the sun’s rays pierced the horizon on Monday, Mr Mbabazi, the Kinkizi West MP, circulated a five-minute recorded video in which he declared that he would challenge President Yoweri Museveni.

“I come before you today to tell you that I will be seeking your vote first within my party, the National Resistance Movement as its flag bearer, and later on in the whole country for president in the 2016 presidential elections,” Mr Mbabazi said.

“The coming election is about the future, about making Uganda work for everyone. It is about reinvigorating our country and making it fit for the 21 century and beyond and it is about breathing new life into our system of government, a system that has become weak and inefficient.”

The disclosure ended months of anxiety and conjecture that he had built up since he was sacked as Prime Minister in October 2014, ostensibly because of his presidential ambition.

The suave politician had chosen to speak in parables and measured body language telling inquisitive journalists repeatedly that, “I will tell you when to tell you what I will tell you.”

On Monday, after his announcement sparked national debate and international interest, followed by analysis of what ramifications his possible candidature might have, Mr Mbabazi was categorical.

“We need to revive our mission to improve education, health and public services and ensure that they are delivered fairly and to high standards,” he stated.

“We need to restore our party, the NRM and return to its roots a genuine accountable and democratic movement.  And we, as a country, we need to rediscover our democratic principles,” he added.

Mr Mbabazi, 66, while addressing a congregation at MP Barnabas Tinkasiimire’s recently said that the public he would know his new political direction soon.


Mr Mbabazi, who is known for his being internet savvy, then took to his social media accounts where he gradually unveiled his plan in coded graphics.

A screen which was at first black with a pen inscription gave way to a fully blown yellow wall, with the NRM logo, a crested crane in full flight, the bespectacled politician’s portrait with his characteristic smile with a slogan, “Go Forward.”

Posters bearing his large portrait were also distributed and pinned in townships across the country.

However, police and other security personnel pulled them down because according to spokesperson Mr Fred Enanga, the “campaign period is not yet on”.

Asked whether he did not fear for his arrest given the police’s response, Mbabazi sounded confident. “Didn’t I tell you that I will tell you, haven’t I told you?”

And on the hurdles ahead of him including possible arrest, Mbabazi quipped: “Munange, I have been in this for so long.”

Security forces surrounded Mr Mbabazi’s home after he announced his candidacy, his wife Jacqueline Mbabazi said.

“Armed security personnel surrounded our residence but have been kept away by our police guards, the situation is tense,” she said.

But Minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, said Mr Mbabazi was welcome to contest the polls but added that he was doubtful he would bring change.

Last week opposition parties formed a coalition for “the final push” against Museveni.

The Democratic Alliance (TDA) say they will field a joint candidate for the election, pledging that if successful, their candidate would serve only one term.


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