Uganda: I didn’t fight in Luweero for Bobi to be president, says Otafiire

Mamos Media

Minister for East African Affairs Gen Kahinda Otafiire pictured at St Kaggwa primary school grounds in Bushenyi District where president Museveni who is also the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party presidential candidate was Tuesday meeting party members as he canvasses for votes in Greater Bushenyi ahead of 2021 general election. PHOTO/ KELVIN ATUHAIRE

By Kelvin Atuhaire & By Job Bwire

The Minister for East African Affairs, Gen Kahinda Otafiire has urged National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi to continue “singing and dancing” adding that he did not fight in the bush (1980-86) for the musician turned politician to lead Uganda.

According to the Minister, the presidency is not an entertainment contest but a presidential race.

“I like Kyagulanyi’s songs, but Kyagulanyi can’t lead me. I did not fight in Luweero for Kyagulanyi to lead me. We went to Luweero and fought, then now you tell me to be ruled by Kyagulanyi! No! Can he take us anywhere?” the NRM’s Ruhinda County MP flag  bearer made the remarks at St Kaggwa primary school grounds in Bushenyi District where president Museveni who is also the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party presidential candidate was Tuesday meeting party members as he canvasses for votes in Greater Bushenyi ahead of 2021 general election.

“We will not hand over power to anyone threatening violence,” Gen Otafiire added.

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President Museveni on December 8, 2020 commissioned the Kashenyi-Mitooma (11.52km) and Kitabi Seminary Access Road(0.8KM) . PHOTO/ UNRA

Museveni commissions road
As part of his campaign trail, Mr Museveni commissioned the Kashenyi-Mitooma (11.52km) and Kitabi Seminary Access Road (0.8KM) which was fully funded by Government of Uganda to a tune of Shs49.199 billion.
Mr Museveni in his address to NRM leaders blamed some of the challenges faced by his 35-year-old government on corruption.


Museveni on corruption 
“You find when they (MPs) have diverted money to other things, to go to London that they are going to see how they do it there. These roads we are now commissioning we are using our money. This is because I have advised them to do it like that. If we serve well, nothing can fail. Another problem is eating the package from the way and by the time it reaches here it’s not enough. If we can work on corruption all things will be better,” Mr Museveni told NRM leaders whom he was addressing at St Kaggwa primary school in Bushenyi.

“Where we have reached now, nothing can fail. We now have money. But the most important thing is how to serve? Is it good or bad?” Mr Museveni added.

Museveni on his retirement

About his retirement, Mr Museveni said: “Those People who shout you go you go, do you think I don’t know where to go?  They are not serious. I sometimes wonder Why they are making noise; for food or noise for war? If people come to work for the stomach what do we do! Already our market is full and as NRM we are looking at EastAfrica.” 
Mr Museveni’s 35-year-old grip on power, however, faces a serious challenge from the Kyadondo East MP, popularly known as Bobi Wine who has become a popular figure among the youth in a country where the median age is less than 16. 

Since becoming an MP in 2017, he has been routinely arrested and put under house arrest, his concerts banned and public rallies dispersed with teargas.
After more than 30 years in power, the 76-year-old Museveni is the only president most have known.
Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, had the constitution amended for a second time to allow him to run a sixth time in 2021.

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President Museveni addressing NRM leaders in Greater Bushenyi on December 8, 2020

Otafiire remarks
However, this is not the first Gen Otafiire is making such statements. 
In October last year, Gen Otafiire, then minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said the army was ready to crash whoever was misusing and misrepresenting people’s power for selfish interests.

“I have heard all this noise about People Power (a political pressure group led by Kyagulanyai before it morphed into NUP); which power do you represent, where are these people? The one we know is the LCI chairperson, people power is exercised by the LCI chairperson through the ballot box,” Gen. Otafiire said at a meeting held in Kashenshero Town Council.
“We will guard this power using the army and air force. Whoever tries to disrupt this power, you are welcome but what will come next, don’t regret,” he added then.

Who’s Otafiire
Otafiire joined Mr Museveni in the National Resistance Army (NRA) guerrilla organization in 1981, where he served as the Chief Political Commissar from 1981 until 1984, having worked previously as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1976 to 1980). Just prior to the NRA capturing power from the military junta in Kampala in 1986, he served as Commissioner, Internal Affairs Interim Administration, in the areas under NRA administration from 1985 until 1986.

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Between 1986 and 1988, he served as Minister of State for Internal Affairs but had to resign this because he brandished a pistol at a woman in a Kampala bar. From 1988 until 1992, he served as the Presidential Assistant for Security. He then served as the Director General of the External Security Organization (ESO) from 1992 until 1994.
From 1994 until 1995, he served as a delegate to the Constituent Assembly which drafted the 1995 Uganda Constitution. He then served as Minister of State for Security from 1994 until 1995. From 1996 until 2001, Kahinda Otafiire served as Minister of State for Local Government. He was elected to Parliament in 1996.

Between 1998 and 2001, he served as the political head of the Uganda Military Expedition into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2001, he was appointed Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, a position he served in until 2003. In that year he was appointed Minister of Land, Water and the Environment. He served in that capacity until 2006. Otafiire has also served as Minister for Local Government, prior to becoming Minister of Trade and Industry in February 2009. He served in that capacity until he was appointed Uganda’s Justice Minister in May 2011 and later appointed Minister for East African Affairs in latest reshuffle.

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