How Mr. Museveni became a hostage to Musevenists

Morris Komakech

The post NRM Primaries has revealed a lot more about behind the scene struggles that we should analyze. It is increasingly clear that Mr. Museveni is indeed a hostage of a group of exploiters and self-seekers who are accustomed to state patronage, corruption, and are equitable to the Latin America’s fish – Piranhas/Caribes.

To shed light into this matter, most of the Ministers and vocal NRM leaning Legislators who lost during the NRM Primaries, have all decided to contest as Independents. There are seven Ministers and several MPs. This means that this group does not believe in the internal democracy within their own Party.

In 2011, many of the so-called Independents made it through the universal adult suffrage. Because of their numerical strength, the NRM managed to sign a memorandum of understanding with these group to support NRM positions in Parliament. For the most part of the last Parliament, the Independents fused with their NRM counterparts and voted yellow, to enjoy all privileges and perks of loyalty.

This arrangement is the key motivator for the unrelenting rise of independents. The second motivator is the sense of entitlement. Since this group are accustomed to sitting on the high table, they cannot imagine life outside the shades of the state with all the spoils from the public purse.

To understand fully how President Museveni is a hostage to these covetous interests, one needs to return to that day at Kyankwanzi, when Hon Anite knelt before the President, to beg him to run as a sole candidate. Why sole candidate given that the President has previously defeated his competitors such as Hon Okot Ogong and others?

Pundits would say that the rush for ring fencing the NRM flag bearer position, was for fear that the Rt Hon Amama Mbabazi would subject the Party Chairman to a fierce contests that would expose the Party and divide it. The expulsion of JPAM from the Party did that anyway. However, what appears to be a more valid explanation for the sole candidature move is divide within the NRM Party. There are several power bases – those allied to Salim Saleh tend to have a fusion between war veterans and their dependents; those allied to Hon Mbabazi and NRM Secretariats, and the Musevenists, who are allied directly to the President and his family members. The latter group runs Statehouse, are in Brig Muhoozi’s elite forces and the ones who man statehouse scholarships and welfare services. This is also the most powerful, vicious, corrupt, and sectarian group with privileges and quick access to the President.

In NRM, everyone wants to ally with, and be a Musevenists. When you visit rural Uganda, you will find many local NRM mobilizers claiming that they work for Statehouse, even when they are just friendly to an RDC.

Anite’s knee bent position therefore was symbolic of the Musevenists’ double checkmate – against JPAM and to hold the President hostage. It is like in one of those war stories where severely injured war leaders race to hoist the flag before an emperor, when in retreat from defeat. Feeling threatened by the Pro-JPAM group, the Musevenists decided that the most effective way to capitulate the advancing JPAM influence, is by radically compelling the President to contest, and to ring fence the position of both Party Chairman and Presidential flag bearer, quickly. That move was effective, and the rest is history.

However, JPAM did not lie down or lay down his weapons. It is true that JPAM had massively mobilized the grassroot NRM structures to galvanize his own ascension to power. In the countryside, there was a perception among NRM mobilizers that President Museveni had agreed to hand over power to JPAM. They argued that the reluctance of the President to declare his intentions to run, and in allowing JPAM to wield so much power, as both NRM Secretary General and Prime Minister.

The Musevenists are now holding the President hostage. Like the Piranhas, known for their sharp teeth, powerful jaws, and voracious appetite for “meat”. The Musevenists are as dangerous.

Mr. Komakech is a Ugandan Social Critic and Political Analyst based in Canada. Can contact via