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Mbabazi Found Wanting

By Ofwono Opondo

Addressing the National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus on September 8, 2014, President Yoweri Museveni quoted from the Bible, Daniel 5 (26-30) which says: “And that this is the writing that was written, Me’ne, me’ne, te’kel, u-phar’sin (26); Me’ne; God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it. te’kel; You’ve been weighed in the balances and found wanting.” And 10 days later, on September 18, he sacked Amama Mbabazi as Prime Minister.
Nine months on, Mbabazi has been languishing from one corner of the world to the other, as indeed earlier stated in Daniel 5 (21), “And when driven from the sons of men and his heart was made like the beasts and his dwelling was with the wild asses; they fed him with grass like oxen and his body was wet with dew of heaven; till he knew that the Most High God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appoints over it whomsoever He will.”
Over the last 30 years of NRM, Mbabazi was indeed put on the political weighing scale and has eventually been found wanting because although he now claims that he can make Uganda better, yet he occupied strategic positions and his presumed talents were never put to the best use. As Prime Minister for three and a half years, Mbabazi did not step in northern Uganda to monitor the projects where hundreds of billions was being spent and not even a courtesy call on the people who were just emerging from 20 years of civil war inflicted on them because the Government had not effectively protected them from the Lord’s Resistance Army. Nor did he go there to explain the Office of the Prime Minister financial scam. For the record, he never allowed minister Rebecca Otengo (Northern Uganda) to step into his office!
For all the years he served as state minister for regional cooperation, defence and defence minister, as well as security minister, Mbabazi never visited Acholi, Lango, West Nile or Karamoja either to inspect or commiserate with the internally displaced persons living in squalid camps. Yet he traversed China, Europe and the US, but did not address a single public rally in Teso region. On the other hand, Museveni, whom he accuses of taking every credit has been to every remote part of Uganda mobilising and empowering citizens to create wealth. Let Mbabazi show us one group of farmers apart from his family and close business associates whom he mentored into prosperity.
As NRM Secretary General for nine years, he never held a single political or consultative meeting in those regions except briefly in 2010 when he accompanied Museveni. And although in the last election, northern Uganda hitherto an opposition stronghold, voted NRM, as secretary general, Mbabazi could not find any reason to go and thank the people. But now he thinks he can fool everybody that he cares. We challenged Mbabazi to adduce evidence that Museveni stopped him from visiting northern Uganda in his official capacity, as local tourist or even sending written circulars.
In his eight-point programme, Mbabazi talks of improving service delivery in health, education and the economy, yet he has never even visited next-door Kambuga hospital in Kanungu district commissioned by President Milton Obote in 1968. The visitors’ book Obote opened is the one still being used and can testify to that. On that basis alone, Mbabazi cannot convince anyone that he cares for Atapara (Oyam), Kalongo (Agago), Butaleja or Alebtong hospitals in far- flung remote places. That is, if he even knows they exist.
When we were studying politics and ideology years back, one of the most boring topics was “Detecting subversion in a revolutionary liberation political movement,” which at the time was taught by then Col. Kahinda Otafire, Maj. Amanya Mushega and Capt. Kale Kayihura. What made this topic arguably boring was the fact that as fresh graduates from Makerere University, most were itching to be recognised by our immediate superiors, yet from the elements of this course, it appeared that Mushega and company were hell-bent on discouraging the appearances of self-ego, ambition and double talk to win favours.
Many years in the NRM struggles and seeing high profile fallouts of yesteryear ‘revolutionaries’,  one cannot fail, but appreciate that ideology is a critical subject that political leaders should master in order to lead well. Ministers and NRM MPs who are watching Mbabazi telling blatant lies and keep quiet in ambivalence are demonstrating subversive tendencies, and should be marked.
 Often leaders who deviate seek to gradually deny their past, especially if negative, and try rebranding themselves with the present and future. They claim that they can do better, show they are not needy like Mbabazi who now shamelessly calls others “fortune hunters,” although we all know he has fed from the public trough all his adult life, and will not pass the public trust barometer.
The writer is the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre and the Government spokesperson and the NRM deputy spokesperson