BIG INTERVIEW: Museveni's age creates opportunity for Bobi to lead Uganda - Luttamaguzi

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BIG INTERVIEW: Museveni's age creates opportunity for Bobi to lead Uganda - Luttamaguzi
Bobi Wine

Paul Lutamaguzi said his allegiance to NUP is purely on principle and that he remains a loyal member of DP who pays subscription

BIG INTERVIEW | Ugandans have long aspired for a peaceful and democratic transfer of power, but it has eluded them since independence. However, envisioning a stable and smooth transition without instability is well within reach.

Although President Museveni's extended rule has had detrimental effects, it also offers a chance for a seamless transition if he is willing to facilitate it.

According to Nakaseke South MP Paulson Luttamaguzi Ssemakula, Museveni's advanced age creates a chance for National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, to provide leadership and usher in a new era.

Excerpts;

What are your thoughts on the current state of affairs in the country, particularly with regards to the ongoing issues of land grabbing and urban planning?

Recently you saw when I helped Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa , there were so many accusations against him for having grabbed a piece of land in Entebbe. Fortunately, the person who had accused him apologised to him.

What have you and the Taybewa done to combat injustice, beyond just linking the two individuals and extracting an apology?

Of course, in that meeting the two groups discovered that there are a lot of injustices in this country. To get justice in this country, it can take days, months or even sometimes you don’t even get it. So we discovered that as the third am of the government we need to do a lot to encourage the second arm of government which is Judiciary to what they are supposed to do because for us as Parliament

You are a member of the Democratic Party (DP), led by Norbert Mao, yet you're also allied with the National Unity Platform (NUP), led by Robert Kyagulanyi. Isn't this a conflicting position?

These matters concern governance, and political parties are not like clans that one cannot escape from. You are born into a clan, but sometimes people change clans based on their ideologies. I believe in the practices of NUP, which is why I align with them.

But you are still a member of DP?

Yes, I am a member of DP, but their practices do not align with my beliefs. However, that doesn't mean I wish them ill.

Why didn't you completely leave the Democratic Party?

I support NUP based on principles. During my campaigns, I openly expressed my support for Robert Kyagulanyi, who was the NUP [{presidential candidate] at the time. My support is not for Kyagulanyi as an individual, but for the ideas and principles that NUP represents.

You opted to stay in DP despite having the chance to join NUP during the elections, and DP still recognises you as one of its MPs. How genuine is your allegiance?

It is quite common. The reason is that I didn't want to appear as just a mere supporter. I believed in Kyagulanyi's ideology and the principles of NUP, which is why I stayed in DP.

What does this mean for your party, DP?

Political parties allow for democracy, and individuals make their own choices within these parties. I can be a member of DP and support the ideologies of NUP because ultimately, we all strive for change.

Isn't it unusual for someone to have one foot in each party?

It may seem unconventional, but it's a personal choice. I am a unique kind of politician, like a watermelon green on the outside and red on the inside. It's perfectly normal for me to be in DP while supporting the ideologies of NUP.

Can you be relied upon in this position?

My reliability doesn't stem from my political party affiliation but from my actions. Do you doubt my capabilities? Politics is a matter of conviction, and you support what you are genuinely interested in. I am in DP, yet I support the ideologies represented by NUP and Robert Kyagulanyi. Is that a crime?

MP Paul Lutamaguzi is one politician who proudly admits to be a 'watermelon'

What are these Kyagulanyi ideologies you fervently speak about?

In summary, his ideology revolves around creating a Uganda that benefits everyone. If I see a party working towards creating such an inclusive Uganda, I support it. My support is based on ideologies, not individuals.

How can you support the ideologies of one party while being a member of another?

It is absolutely fine. The president general of DP, Norbert Mao, openly crossed to the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Why didn't you accuse him of betraying his party?

He claims to have negotiated a cooperation agreement in principle...

Similarly, I support NUP in principle. Their actions align with my beliefs, even though I am still a member of DP.

What is your loyalty to DP?

I show my loyalty by contributing to DP through subscriptions from my parliamentary earnings, and I genuinely wish them well in all their endeavors.

Tell me about this growing group of political actors whose ideologies are in one place while their party affiliations are in another.

In this era, we call it the new normal. Does it surprise you? There are two sides in Uganda: those who desire change and those who don't. Where you stand defines you.

What does this mean for a country grappling with the question of political transition?

The change we seek is not solely about political parties; it's about Ugandans. Ugandans are yearning for change, not just political parties. The parties represent the spearhead of the change we desire. That's why I mentioned that I can work towards change even within DP, alongside NUP.

We all want a better Uganda, regardless of our political party affiliations. Currently, we face a crisis where some individuals want to establish a dynasty in our country. Don't be surprised when change comes it may not take long. Just a minute of change can make you lose what you've acquired in the past 40 years. The transition we desire is not about individuals or political parties.

Any capable leader in this country can lead the transition, but currently, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu stands out.

Can you envision a scenario where NUP collaborates with Patriotic League of Uganda (PLU), Mao reunites with DP, and Jimmy Akena's Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) joins forces to form a united transition government?

In a country like Uganda, where you have leaders of different ambitions, dreams, and interests, it's not easy to merge them for a common cause, but it is possible. Among themselves, they can choose the rightful leader to be the leader of the leaders. It's possible, but the current dominance of individual powers over institutional powers in the NRM system makes it difficult.

However, it can be possible as long as Ugandans are united. For example, just a few years ago, no one knew about Robert Kyagulanyi, but he emerged on the scene and gained the trust of many people who voted for him.

We were in politics before Kyagulanyi emerged, but they could not trust some of us.

Hasn't the enthusiasm for Dr Kizza Besigye, consistent as he was, waned over time, only to be replaced by the current excitement around Robert Kyagulanyi? Will this support endures, or will another leader emerge in the future?"

As you said, there was excitement previously, but we learn lessons over time with each election. The current president's age is not on his side, and he could have fooled Ugandans many times, but this time the tricks have caught up with him. You can no longer deceive Ugandans who have witnessed a lot of empty promises.

How do you convince Ugandans that NUP would be capable hands to manage this country with all its problems?

The current crisis we are facing is not about any political party; it's not about the NUP. NUP has provided good leadership so far. It's a young party, but the way they handle things assures us that if they take up the leadership of Uganda, things can improve. As a member of NUP, I advocate for every Ugandan to have equal rights and access to services.

Would you say with a straight face that anyone in the political class, whether in the opposition or the ruling party, is free of corruption?

Corruption is corruption, regardless of political party affiliation. In Uganda, we actually have minimal corruption; what we have is grand looting. People are siphoning billions of money into their accounts, buying large tracts of land, former government buildings, and more. If you have a head of state who tells the Inspector General of Government to go easy on looters, then you see where we're headed. A head of state should set an example in speech, action, and thought.

What is your final message to the people of Nakaseke?

As Ugandans, we should work better for this country. If you are in any position of leadership, you must consider the ordinary citizens. It doesn't cost much to be humble. The word "sorry" means a lot. Even if you explain for days, wrong is wrong, and right is right. As a Member of Parliament, I want to appeal to the public: as long as I am in public office, I am accountable for every coin spent and every statement made.

I urge the public to trust us; not all of us behave like some members you see. There are still those who uphold upright morals and can be good leaders for this country.

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