Inside Kibalama's controversial claims and actions

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Inside Kibalama's controversial claims and actions
Moses Kibalama during the media briefing in Kampala on Wednesday

Dr Patrick Wakida, a political analyst, says Kibalama is "confused" and that he doesn't seem to know what he wants.

POLITICS | In 2020, prior to the 2021 general elections, Moses Kibalama and his group made the decision to hand over his National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) to Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine.

Subsequently, NURP transformed into the National Unity Platform (NUP).

When Kyagulanyi, the leader of the People Power Movement at the time, announced that he was assuming leadership of NUP, it caused a significant stir in the country's political landscape.

While the acquisition of the party surprised many, the secretive nature of Kyagulanyi's approach to obtaining the party left both Ugandans and those in the government bewildered.

Kibalama later claimed that he did not authorise the transfer of the party to Kyagulanyi. He alleged that the NUP leadership failed to fulfill their agreement to pay him $5 million during the takeover and accused them of forging signatures to facilitate the hijacking of the party by Kyagulanyi's group.

As a result, Kibalama and his group took the matter to court, challenging the takeover. During the court proceedings before Justice Musa Ssekaana, Kibalama contradicted himself on multiple occasions.

Despite initially stating in his affidavit that he held a position in the National Unity Platform's elders and advisors' committee after the leadership change, Kibalama later refuted this claim, insisting that he had no role in the party.

Regarding the reports of the fraudulent acquisition of NURP (now NUP), Kyagulanyi alleged that this was orchestrated with the support of the ruling side, who panicked due to his announcement of joining the party.

After a period of relative calm, Kibalama revived efforts to reclaim his party in 2021. In a July 6, 2021 letter by his lawyers Ms Mugabi Shyaka & CO. Advocates, Kibalama, along with the party's Secretary-General Paul Ssimbwa Kagombe, Kigozi Winston (deputy head of policy), and William Odinga Balikuddembe (head of research), requested a meeting with NUP Secretary-General Lewis Rubongoya to review the memorandum of understanding signed between Kyagulanyi and the party the previous year.

Kibalama and his group claimed that they were deceived by Kyagulanyi and sought a review of the memorandum of understanding.

According to Kibalama, he discovered that Kyagulanyi's People Power Movement, which had entered into the memorandum of understanding with his party, no longer existed and therefore lacked the legal capacity to enter into or execute any agreement.

"The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request that a meeting be held on July 11, 2021, at the National Unity Platform offices or any other convenient venue to, among other things, review the Memorandum of Understanding in terms of Clause 5 thereof,” the letter stated.

Kibalama warned that if NUP refused to hold the requested meeting, they were prepared to reclaim the party.

However, Kibalama faced criticism from the High Court, which accused him of being a serial liar and claimed that the government coached him to make false statements against Kyagulanyi.

Mr Kyagulanyi has solidified NUP's base but Kibalama continues to lark in the shadows

In a video that circulated on social media, Kibalama alleged that Bobi Wine promised him $5 million in exchange for the opposition party. Yet, during cross-examination in court, Kibalama denied being the person in the video and reiterated that the party was not for sale, emphasizing that he never sold it to anyone.

Kibalama's credibility has been questioned by many, given his history of contradicting himself. The outcome of this latest development remains uncertain.

Kibalama stated that when Kyagulanyi approached them, they realised he shared the same aspirations as their party. He considered Kyagulanyi assuming the presidency of the party a dream come true.

This marks a change in Kyagulanyi's political approach, as he previously dismissed the idea of belonging to a political party, arguing that he didn't need party affiliation to voice his political views.

However, he now recognises the importance of having a political party to participate in the upcoming elections, providing a unified symbol for all candidates under their umbrella.

NUP adopted the umbrella as its symbol. Kyagulanyi emphasised their mission to register and vote, aiming to overthrow the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) through legal means.

On May 16, 2024, Kibalama issued a letter cautioning individuals associated with the NUP Kavule group, urging them to reconsider their actions.

"We are pleased to inform our members, MPs, councilors, and local leaders that the forged document known as the NUP Constitution, which was included in the NUP file, was rejected at a meeting convened by the Electoral Commission on Tuesday, May 14," Kibalama stated.

He further warned that the ongoing membership registration exercise, allegedly involving MPs, councilors, and grassroots leaders, is futile and illegitimate.

Those who persist in participating in this misguided endeavor will face the consequences of their actions.

"All activities carried out under the forged constitution are now illegal and void, and anyone collaborating with Kavule's NUP faction does so at their own risk," said Kibalama.

He revealed that Lewis Rubongoya, the NUP secretary-general and Benjamin Katana have resorted to violent tactics, accusing them of making threats, phone calls, and surveilling the homes of NUP leaders who oppose their agenda.

However, Rubongoya, stated that this group has never been associated with them.

Moses Kibalama has warned NUP against registering membership, citing illegality.

Dr Patrick Wakida, a political analyst, described Kibalama as "confused" and that he doesn't seem to know what he wants. Wakida believes Kibalama is being manipulated to fight against the party.

"Once you decide to work with someone, you surrender your rights. As far as I am concerned, Kibalama held a position of authority within the party and has not officially resigned. He cannot claim the party now because he relinquished it. I think he lacks understanding of his own desires," Wakida explained.

Wakida suggested that the best course of action would be for the party to permanently remove Kibalama. He proposed that the party members convene, pass resolutions, and completely expel him.

Kibalama, a former police officer who had guarded two former presidents, gained public attention in July 2020 when he handed over the leadership of the National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party to Kyagulanyi, renaming it the National Unity Platform (NUP).

Kibalama pursued Business Administration at Makerere University and later studied a diploma in VIP protection and escort duties, arms detection, and disarmament techniques at Derbyshire Constabulary UK from 1983 to 1985.

Born in Buwambo Village, Wakiso District, Kibalama attended Martyrs High Senior Secondary School in Lubaga for his Uganda Certificate of Education and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.

He was part of the logistics management team during the Bududa landslide from March 2010 to August 2010. Kibalama is fluent in Swahili, Lumasaba, Runyankore, Rukiga, Luganda, and Acholi.

He served as an escort and driver to former President Dr. Milton Obote. Over time, he transitioned from a driver to a bodyguard and eventually became a position of power.

After contemplating for years, Kibalama decided to join activism and oppose the government (NRM) that had waged a Bush war against his former boss in the 1980s.

In August 2020, Kibalama reported receiving death threats since handing over the party leadership to Robert Kyagulanyi. He claimed to be followed and threatened, prompting him to go into hiding out of fear for his life.

In June 2021, Kibalama and fellow party member Paul Ssimbwa Kagombe resolved to end their long-running dispute with the Kamwokya-based political organization. They cited a series of meetings that led to an agreement between themselves and Bobi Wine's team.

However, in 2022, Kibalama once again attempted to reclaim his party, establishing offices in Rubaga Division. The Electoral Commission issued a warning, instructing Kibalama and his group to stay away from the NUP.

Kibalama's involvement with the NUP has been marked by inconsistency, despite his various health situations.

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