JEEMA's Mayanja Kibirige announces retirement from politics

JEEMA's Mayanja Kibirige announces retirement from politics
Kibirige Mayanja

The National Chairperson of the Justice Forum (JEEMA), Muhammad Mayanja Kibirige, has announced his intention not to seek re-election at the upcoming National Delegates Conference scheduled for June 2024.

Kibirige is a two-time presidential candidate after his attempts in 1996 and 2001.

His retirement marks the end of a distinguished political career and emphasises the importance of democratic leadership renewal.

Kibirige, 74, expressed gratitude and respect towards the members of the Justice Forum, fellow Ugandans, and well-wishers for their support throughout his tenure.

He acknowledged the privilege and honour of serving as the national chairperson but highlighted the need for a healthy governance structure by avoiding prolonged stays in active politics.

"I am now 74 years old, and seeking another 5-year term would mean continuing to stay in active politics up to almost 80 years, which I don't think is healthy in good governance," Kibirige said.

This decision reflects his commitment to maintaining the party's principles and ensuring a smooth transition of power within the Justice Forum.

Following his retirement, Kibirige plans to redirect his focus towards professional consultancy work, international assignments, and community services.

His intention to engage in these areas demonstrates his dedication to contributing to society through different avenues beyond politics.

According to the party's constitution, they are entrusted with making arrangements for a peaceful transfer of power.

Asuman Basalirwa, the party president, Rev Santos Okema, vice chairperson, Hajji Muhammad Kateregga, secretary general, and Hajji Ibrahim Nsmba, chairperson of the electoral commission, have been notified of Kibirige's decision.

Their roles in facilitating a seamless transfer of power within the party will be crucial in the coming months.

As the news spreads, speculation about potential candidates for the position of the next national chairperson is expected to arise.

The man for justice

After an unsuccessful bid to represent Kawempe North in the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution, Kibirige surprised the nation by picking nomination forms to challenge President Museveni in the 1996 elections.

Although he scored 2.5 percent of the total vote, he was way behind the two front runners in President Museveni and Democratic Party's Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere.

On October 28, 1996, Kibirige turned his campaign team into a political party, naming it Justice Forum.

He made another pitch in the 2001 presidential elections but after falling further behind in fourth place, Kibirige did not return to the presidential ballot again.

Instead, he focused his energy on building cohesion in his party and growing its base.

He brought several youths into Justice Forum party. Two of these eloquent youths Basalirwa and Yususf Kiranda became guild presidents at Makerere University, under his party sponsorship.

Born on May 30, 1950, in Mende Village in Wakiso District, Kibirige went to Mende Primary School, Namusera Primary School and Tamu Kora School before joining Kibuli SS for O and A levels.

In 1974, he joined Makerere University for a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He has since worked with Makerere University in various capacities.

Kibirige has five children with his first wife Mariam, and another two with his second wife Hadija.

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