Mr President, Hand Over Power While I am Still Alive – Mushega tells Museveni

Veteran politician Nuwe Amanya Mushega has reminded his former bush war comrade and Uganda’s three-decade president Yoweri Museveni that he should retire and pave way for a new leader.

Museveni was attending the wedding reception of the children of two of his former allies who have turned into his critics: Maj John Kazoora and Amanya Mushega.

The Saturday event celebrated the union of Arnold Akandinda Kazoora, son to John and Naomi Kabasharira Kazoora of Rutooma Kashaari County in Mbarara district, and Kobusingye Kukunda Mushega daughter to Amanya Mushega of Bumbaire, Igara County in Bushenyi district.

“[Wherever you go Mr President], they [Ugandans] ask for money, scholarships, jobs, etc,” Mushega started, directly addressing Museveni.

He then made his request: “I also want to ask for something Mr President.”

But before he could do so, reminded Museveni of their university days.
“I knew you in 1969 when we were university students.”

Both Museveni and Mushega attended Dar es Salaam University in Tanzania. Upon graduation, Mushega he returned to Uganda in 1972 for an assistant lecturer job at Makerere University’s Faculty of Law. Later on, Mushega graduated with a master’s degree in 1974 and taught at faculty of Law at the University of Zambia in Lusaka. He would later return to Makerere University in 1979 as a lecturer until 1981 when he joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) of Museveni. In the NRA, Mushega worked as the the chief national political commissar, rising to the rank of colonel.

“We fought together in the bush for liberation of this country,” Mushega further reminded Museveni.

When Museveni took over power in 1986, Mushega served as minister in the dockets of defence, local government, education, and public service until 2001 when he fell out with Museveni.

After giving a background to his relationship with Museveni, Mushega then told Museveni: “I now ask of you, kindly allow me the opportunity to go to Kololo to witness a President handing over to another President in my life time.”

Since her independence, Uganda has never had a smooth transition of power from one leader to another. The east African land locked and third world nation has witnessed coups and bloodshed, some pitting tribes against others.

Museveni would have retired in 2006 had his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party MPs removed the presidential term limit in 2005.

The only hope for a peaceful transition from Museveni is article 102b of the Constitution that bars all below 35 years and those above 75 to run for president. Born in 1944, Museveni will be over 75 when Uganda next goes to the polls in 2021.

But there are attempts by some in the NRM to have the presidential age limit clause removed to allow Museveni rule for life.

Mushega’s appeal to Museveni most was most likely founded on the current age limit removal debate.

Marion Ayebazibwe