You the leader must give direction to the people but it seems the people are giving you direction…
That’s false. Leaders can decide the direction but good leadership allows the majority to reign. Am I being fair to myself to say, I have refused to go. It disturbs me that the other day people were blaming me for not joining Kyagulanyi…What’s the purpose of campaigns if they can’t be used to move people.
If I was against something then and now, I have embraced it, count it as a result of the campaigns that I have been won over. It could also be that we were moved by powerful respected stakeholders. And then, where I had reached, I had to take a decision to either join NUP, ANT or Jeema.
Had DP become so untenable that you had to make a decision to leave it?
I was closed out of DP. I was in hospital when Mao held meetings in Mukono and during one of those tours, Gerald Siranda [DP Secretary General] said, the person who was keeping Nambooze in DP died, that was Birekeraawo Nsubuga, for me, I will never sign any forms nominating Betty Nambooze to be sponsored by DP, so it had become that bad.
You have said you are just hibernating and at some point, you will return to DP; are you not confusing people?
I’m not supposed to do things so that people can understand me. In fact, if people don’t understand what I’m doing in politics, sometimes that’s good. I know what it means to join a political party; it’s just about making a declaration and get a party card.
I’m in NUP nowbutIcanwalkinaDPofficeandpick my card. Of course, I’m not going to do that but NUP is a party on a mission. We need the politics of now, not the past or the future. I would have loved to be in DP or a party that is well administered and I’m sad that I have been forced to leave a party whose ideology I have espoused ever since I became an adult.
Mao and other people say you guys are all just interested in keeping your MP seats and you would go to any party that guaranteed that?
My political life doesn’t depend on the approval of Mao. I was the first in Museveni’s 35 years to stand on a DP ticket in Mukono. Visibly the strongest party here was NRM; so, what drove me then? People who I consider to be my juniors have crossed to NRM and become ministers.
So, if I was only interested in positions, why didn’t I work with Museveni? Why would I stay on a side where my health is greatly distorted?
That I can’t make a bed for my husband; that I have to call my children to dress me up. Everything in this house is being adjusted for me and then you say I only care about the position! It’s an insult manufactured by Mao, a wordsmith calling us meal card politicians but if there is any meal card politician, that person is called Mao. He is hunting me down because he knows I’m going to stand against him in the DP elections.
You still want his office?
Definitely, it’s part of the reason why I’m in NUP. You see the Rwandese came here in 1954, they almost became Baganda. When former President Milton Obote harassed us here, they went to the bush and overthrew the government but they knew that their final battle was in Kigali and they finally took it there.
Today, former NRA soldiers like Paul Kagame are governing in Kigali. My final battle is at Balintuma (DP head office) but now I’m in Kamwokya and like the RPF soldiers, I will do all to make the Kamwokya idea successful but I know where my final battle is; God willing.
Is there anything you are adding to Kyagulayi’s chances of going to State House?
In a few weeks, Bobi Wine will be the leader of opposition in parliament. He’s becoming so lucky that he’s becoming number two before he goes to war.
Today, he has 17 MPs and Mao has four; you don’t see the difference? He is going to be sitting in forums like IPOD. Does he become stronger? Yes, because we represent constituencies? When I went to Kamwokya, I went with 90 DP councillors. All the 602 DP village chairmen have agreed to be NUP chairmen. I think NUP is harvesting from a garden they never planted.
But these are already opposition zones; they don’t help much in taking over state power…
But I have seen that he has two NRM MPs; that’s not simple. And let me tell you, this year, NUP will get more funds from parliament than DP.
No, they will not, the speaker said even if you change parties, you remain contractually tied to the party that sent you to parliament until the end of the five years…
I don’t get surprised when NRM people start saying that because they are so threatened. They just realized that in a few weeks’ time, Bobi Wine will be forming a government in parliament and now they want to go and twist the laws.
We shall also go for them. For me, it’s an insult and illegal if parliament ever records my words in the Hansard against DP. I’m not DP, I want that word NUP to be on the Hansard and I have written to the speaker to that effect. I would wish my entitlements to be recorded for the same party. What does Bobi Wine want; numbers . And Uganda is not like America where victory is counted according to the states you have won.
In Uganda even if you get all your votes from Kampala as long as they make 51 per cent, they declare you the president. Buganda has 5.3 million voters and Museveni got five million votes so the game plan is to raise enough votes; in, Buganda and Busoga and make sure we raise as many candidates as possible to guard our votes in other areas so that Museveni doesn’t exaggerate his win elsewhere. But it is one thing having a plan and it doesn’t work out. But it’s better than having no plan.
There was a memorandum that guaranteed you guys won’t have primary challengers in NUP…
I have read about it somewhere but those are just rumours. We have not entered into such an agreement. But even if my colleagues enter into such an arrangement, I don’t need it because I have done so many things that please my voters. But when did it become a crime for a politician to do things that will make him/her popular in their constituencies? So, if there is a politician like Nambooze who goes to NUP because that’s what the people want, what crime have I committed?
But must people not say anything when they see a politician with 30 years’ experience joining somebody who just entered politics three years ago?
In democracies, presidential candidates look for big politicians for endorsement; it’s not the other way round. The stupid thing would be for me to come to Mukono and say vote for me because Bobi Wine wants me. I’m not seeking endorsement from him.
But world over, presidential candidates look for endorsement and it is recorded as a parameter of strength. But there is also a new trend in
the world where voters are rebelling against seasoned politicians. It’s not only in Uganda and I have to accept it. I’m not disadvantaged because I had no intensions of running for president in 2021 but the coming of Bobi
Wine doesn’t stop me because Barack Obama became president before Donald Trump. Probably you will have a Betty Nambooze candidature in 10 years’ time when I’m 60 years.
What would you tell somebody who says that you went to Kamwokya after realizing that it’s the only ticket to your re-election?
Politicians doing things to attract voters is not out of the ordinary? Politics is like that more so during electioneering. And how does that make me a bad politician to move with my people? People have been saying Nambooze is a populist and I don’t want to deny that because if you do, you will have given opportunity to your opponents to disorganize you.
Apart from hoodwinking people, which other politicians wouldn’t want to do this? That’s how we win elections, by showing voters that we are serving their interests better.
Must you do things that don’t sit well with your heart just because you want to be elected?
Have you measured my heart to know I’m not well? There was a decision to be made, for me to choose which team I would play for in the next five years. I had a lot of soul-searching, I did enough consultations, weighed the interests of my voters, I ruled out the issue of being an independent; so, I decided to join NUP.
People who saw you at Kamwokya and read your body language concluded it wasn’t well…
In Buganda, the day we install a new king we are burying another one, what demeanour do you want a person to put on; to jump up and dance for the new king or cry for the old one.
It was sad we were burying DP and joining a party that was starting. It would be very sad for me, if I was jubilating. I’m sad for having left DP, that’s why I was saying I have unfinished business. I told NUP people that I will give my all while there but it shouldn’t surprise them when one day I go back to DP.
I have been the vice president where DP is strongest, that’s Buganda, I couldn’t walk away smiling. It will take me time to adjust to NUP but I carry one consolation that maybe in future, DP and NUP will become one party. If my husband died today, my son will be elevated to be the head of the family; I will be happy but I will be sad for the husband I have lost.
One of the things you have said many times is the lack of processes in DP or their abuse but then you are moving in a party where there is no pretense, it’s a one-man show…
What Mr Kyagulanyi had to do is to have interim leaders to be able to constitute structures that would sit to usher in democratic leaders. Because of the recruitment that has been going on, next week [this week], the
party is having a delegates’ conference and one of the biggest things to do is to amend the constitution to give more powers to the members than its leaders. As of now, he couldn’t have done otherwise.
Aren’t we going to see trouble in the coming days when NUP decides who will hold its flag for different places when there is no known process of determining candidates?
For leaders, it is not always that you do the right thing but to adjust after listening to people. If you don’t trust people, you can’t do anything. For now, I want to believe that Kyagulanyi couldn’t have been more democratic when the constitution talks about appointing, not electing. Did he appoint his relatives to these positions? So far, he has tried not to.