While responding to former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s statement last Monday, President Museveni seemed irritable and down. Yet, by Wednesday, the president had recaptured his verve, laughing off Mbabazi’s claim to NRM’s sole candidate for the 2016 elections.
The cabinet meeting, according to our well-placed source, took some time talking about Mbabazi’s declaration of his presidential bid, and that Monday evening’s meeting between President Museveni, Mbabazi, and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
“Would you be able to envision that when I met Mbabazi [on Monday], he told me that he is the sole candidate for NRM?” our source cited President Museveni as having told the meeting.
President Museveni was reportedly amused by Mr. Mbabazi’s sole candidacy claim, which he laughed off. The president told ministers that when he asked Mbabazi how he turned into the NRM sole candidate, Mr. Mbabazi guaranteed that it was about being the only one who has officially declared his intentions.
“In this way, Mbabazi said that since he was the first to make his expectations to contest against me inside NRM and during national elections, he turned into the sole hopeful,” Museveni supposedly added.
Asked how the minister responded to Museveni’s story, our source said the whole entire joined the president in laughter. Not long after Mbabazi declared his entry into the 2016 presidential race early last Monday, President Museveni additionally countered Mbabazi’s statement in a recorded message later in the evening.
In the same video, Museveni told the country that he had scheduled a meeting later on Monday evening between him, Mbabazi, and Rugunda. Mbabazi repeated his sole candidate claim in a BBC interview with Allan Kasujja that broadcast on June 18.
Asked by reporters whether President Museveni would not really want to run against him, Mbabazi said: “Well I don’t know. President Museveni did not tell the reporters that he wanted to run and really other hands, I let him know that I was so far unopposed.
Unopposed on the grounds that President Museveni hasn’t pronounced his intention, is that right? He has not announced his aim and I trust I can convince him to maintain that, not to declare.”
Reached on Friday, Ruth Nankabirwa, the government chief whip, didn’t affirm nor negate our source’s version of events, saying that she did “didn’t attend” the cabinet meeting.
Since the NRM Members Parliament adopted the highly- controversial Kyankwanzi resolution in February 2014, which pronounced Museveni as the NRM sole candidate, the president has never openly expressed his support for it.