Museveni: I'm Happy With Zziwa's Victory

2138 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The president’s statement, in respect of this week’s East African Legislative Assembly—EALA elections, was understood to be a reference to some of his party leaders in parliament, including Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who went to Arusha to campaign for Dora Byamukama as an official candidate for the ruling party.

President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday used his State of the Nation address at Serena Hotel in Kampala to warn his senior NRM party members that he is the one in charge of all foreign affairs relations and not any other person.

The president’s statement, in respect of this week’s East African Legislative Assembly—EALA elections, was understood to be a reference to some of his party leaders in parliament, including Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who went to Arusha to campaign for Dora Byamukama as an official candidate for the ruling party.

The EALA election of the Speaker has split several of the ruling party MPs, with the pro-Byamukama group accusing their colleagues Eriya Kategaya, Mike Mukula, Lydia Wanyoto and Nusura Tiperu of betrayal.

The President said there was no candidate between Byamukama and the eventual winner, Margaret Zziwa, who had been elected to contest on behalf of the party. He said he had blessed both candidates to contest and the best candidate won.

He said that his major work was done when he called all his colleagues from the other East African countries and convinced them to leave this term’s speakership for Uganda.

He congratulated Zziwa upon winning the prestigious and highly placed regional position and said whatever happened in Arusha was a minor confusion that was created by some leaders of the party. He did not, however, mention anybody’s name as causing the confusion.

As he talked, a deep silence engulfed the conference hall, as Kadaga sat quietly and straight faced, without any gesture of approval or disapproval.

Museveni said that he was surprised to realize that Ugandan MPs had gone to Arusha to campaign for an official NRM candidate he did not know about. He warned the MPs to stop misbehaving in other countries the way they do back home in Uganda. He said the Speaker of EALA is a regional position where other countries also have a stake. He said he should have been asked on whatever decisions were made.

After Museveni’s speech, Lydia Wanyoto, who is amongst those accused of plotting to block Byamukama’s candidature, sprung up and looked more energetic. Wanyoto, who had all along sat quietly at one of the back seats near the press corner, said she has been vindicated. She said she was so relieved that the president had openly said the truth.

Wanyoto said she had campaigned openly for Zziwa in Arusha because she knew any of the nine Ugandan representatives was qualified to contest for the seat.
 
On accusations that her and Tiperu bribed voters in Arusha with 1,000 dollars each, Wanyoto said that since the president had cleared the issue, there was no need to continue debating the matter. She said that she was only happy that her candidate had won the election.

Kategaya meanwhile said he was shocked to be told by the Ugandan MPs who went to Arusha that there was an official candidate sent by the president and yet he as the Minister in charge of the East African Community was not aware. He said he decided as a result to avoid meeting the Ugandan delegation of MPs, led by Speaker Kadaga.

He said he was insulted by Buyaga West MP, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, who accused him of being too close to the Burundian lady, Hasfa Moshi, who had earlier indicated she would stand but later withdrew her candidature.

He said the Ugandan MPs behaved badly while in Arusha with some of them being accused of openly abusing colleagues who did not support Byamukama.

Kadaga has not yet made an official statement on the drama during the EALA elections in Arusha since her return on Wednesday.