Mbabazi Pins NTV on Failure to show his Gulu Crowds

Independent Presidential candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi today said one television did not show his crowds that thronged Gulu rally yesterday.

Mbabazi addressing Journalists today morning in Gulu town
Mbabazi addressing Journalists today morning in Gulu town

Red Pepper learnt that the former prime minister was referring to NTV.

Mbabazi said the TV did not show his crowds last night during the evening news.

He made the remarks while addressing a press conference in Gulu ahead of today’s rally in Lira.

Protecting Votes 

As he has been saying, Mbabazi promised to protect people’s vote come February 18th next year.

“Cast your ballot and stay at the polling station until the counting and declaration is done. The other place where rigging can be done is in Kampala in the computers and that one, I will handle personally.”

Mammoth crowds that attended Mbabazi rally in Gulu
Mammoth crowds that attended Mbabazi rally in Gulu

Explaining his departure from National Resistance Movement (NRM), Mbabazi said he left because of the disagreement on principles not personal ambitions.

“I have been accused of having plotted against NRM while still inside, that is not true. If my ambition was to be president earlier, I would not have backed scrapping of term limits,” he said.

“Mine is not ambition. It is fighting for principles. I left NRM because it deviated from core founding objectives.”

PRESS CONFERENCE – Gulu 25th November, 2015

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press,

Thank you for coming for this short interaction and we shall adopt this practice to help us review what has been happening and also to clarify what has been done or we intend to do.

We as a team are really impressed with our campaign progress so far and with the teams helping us to organise.

The success of our rallies shows that our alliance is strong.

This was another demonstration by the people of Uganda that in spite of the intimidation, they will stay firm in their belief of change.

I want to say this; democracy is the competition of ideas and not muscle power. Let people make their choice after listening.

We can’t understand a people that claim to be democratic and yet cannot allow competition of ideas.

I want to appeal to the people of NRM to remain grounded in the principles that we all espouse.

In my time in NRM, there were isolated incidents of thuggery but as it stands now, it has become a policy.

We have been holding one major rally in the major district of each sub region.

This has been a strategy to enable spread of message with initial contact.

 We will be begin next week to campaign in each constituency and we shall be handling local issues.

We think we have answers for the people in our manifesto and these will be explained in depth.

I would like to urge the media and thank them in their efforts to inform the public of our message.

It is the duty of the fourth estate to transmit our ideas as well as those of all candidates as presented in their manifestos so that the public can judge on their own which ideas are best for them.

Additionally, we shall be having a press conference in Kampala probably on Friday to update you on some measures we shall be taking in the next weeks to handle intimidation of our supporters.

We managed to make an assessment of our strength here and I can say we are satisfied with what we have seen.

Q & A

Journalist: How do you intend to protect the vote?

Amama: How shall we protect the vote? I spoke of a partnership between the voters and us that includes them voting first and staying at the polling station.

The other is the issue of manipulation at the national level, but I cannot state what measures I will be taking.

Journalist: What is your plan for Gulu city status?

Amama: We are committed to giving Gulu a city status.

Journalist: Your ideas on tourism?

Amama: We have been thinking hard about tourism which suffers hard if you don’t have a national airline carrier.

So Gulu, with a large catchment area, would need an international airport as well due to the amount of activity here.

When I was Prime Minister I had a lot of discussions with neighbouring Countries and there is a need not just for tourism but for food security and Gulu would be a good centre for this.

Journalists: Why are you standing now and not earlier?

Amama: I am here. Some people are saying that all along I had been harbouring ambitions of being President and I have been working towards this but this is not the case.

If I had had those ambitions then why would I have led the push for removal of term limits which would have been a detriment to my plans? That argument is not based on fact.

My commitment has been to serving the Ugandan people and this is why I had a disagreement with my party NRM, because they have deviated from our core principles.

Mine is not ambition, mine is service. I have been cast into this position and now my job is to restore term limits and ensure peaceful transition of power and that is how we ensure that our struggle was not in vain, that it lives on beyond our life span.

Journalist: What are your plans for Northern Uganda?

Amama: The Ugandan economy has been growing at a very good rate, an exponential growth from 1.5 billion dollars to more than 30 billion dollars.

Do u see that wealth though? Where has it gone? It’s a shame that the bulk of this is in a few areas so one of our policies shall be equitable wealth in all areas.

In Northern Uganda we have some programmess that would be limited to victims of war like restocking, special programmes for child parents, victims of war, et cetera.

Regarding the Economy of Northern Uganda, I have always argued even in government, that whereas I’m a believer in privatisation, you must reserve a role for government, because no investor would go to Karamoja for example for business, so it is the duty of the government to open up these areas to investment.

No one has invested in Shea butter production for the international market in the North here and yet it is a billion dollar industry.

This is one of the potential areas of investment growth for Northern Uganda.

So broadly speaking, we have plans for equal development for the country.

Additionally, we as a Country have oil. Although, it benefits can be easily be misappropriated if not planned for properly.

Journalist: What was your role in the misappropriation of PRDP funds and the purchase of the Prime Ministers Mercedes Benz?

Amama: Who was responsible for PRDP funds?

The Auditor Generals report is clear on who is responsible.

I don’t have that exact information (report) with me right now but in summary a Prime Minister is not responsible for funds.

Neither my predecessor nor me.

For a Prime Minister or Minister to intervene to order usage of funds for an unplanned activity, he must put it in writing and then he/she becomes responsible.

It is not the duty if the Prime Minister to buy cars. A Prime Minister is entitled to two cars, which are upgraded every four years.

The public service requested me to give up one car for Rt Hon Apollo Nsibambi.

I used an old vehicle, which had been in use for over four years.

I was in office for about a year before it broke down one day in the middle of traffic.

That Benz Hon Odonga Otto is talking about was bought to replace that old one.

Journalist: Please explain your plan for jobs

Amama: One example is turning the sub county into a basic planning, development and production unit.

This would mean every sub county would initially provide about 500 jobs.

The ordinary farmer works hard, grows groundnuts, peas, millet, et cetera. The buyer then determines the price.

We want to change this. We want to change this by first establishing cooperatives to receive produce from the farmer.

The cooperative will then store, grade and process this produce with the help of the silos.

Then we have a warehousing receipt issued to the farmer. You may use this receipt to borrow money from the community bank.

The commodities exchange will then stabilize the prices and sell to both local and international markets.

This is just part of the complex economic model and it will help in self-governance. We shall create the potential for people to grow.

On Uganda Cadets Project: It’s better to start and demonstrate its value through action rather than pronouncements.

I don’t see why our young people would not be interested in it.


Journalist: What is your plan for taxation?

Amama: Reduction of taxation levels while expanding our expenditure commitments:

By doing away with high levels of taxation, you don’t necessarily reduce revenue collection.

The creation of jobs is going to be mainly through the private sector and hence these policies of tax reduction are aimed at attracting further investment and expanding the job creation ability of the private sector.

Of course it is a disadvantage for us to be landlocked. Investors have to factor that into the cost of their commodities.

So we have to find a way to compete with our neighbours Kenya and Tanzania when it comes to attracting the right investment that can spur jobs.

We have to find a way to compete. We have employed tax holidays and other incentives before and they have not worked.

So we have to try something new. Thus reduction on taxes will not reduce our revenue per say.

Journalist: What are your views on the Papal visit

Amama: We welcome the Pope to Uganda, we are very excited and as you did know, I participated in this partly.

We have put our campaign on hold for the time he is here to allow our people to receive him.

The country needs prayers, especially at a time when we are preparing for a peaceful transition of power.