NOT ME ! Kadaga denies eyeing M7 seat

Kadaga flanked by family members is pictured with President Museveni during her swearing in as Deputy PM and EAC minister early this year

BY VENENSCIAS KIIZA

The first Deputy Prime Minister and minister for East African Affairs, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has dismissed reports attributing her to a presidential bid in 2026.

According to a press statement sent to this publication on Monday by the ministry’s communications officer, Samuel Bishop, the reports circulating on social media showing she has interested herself in the presidential seat are “intended to cause disharmony” in the country.

“For the last one week, there has been circulation on social media of fictitious posters of Rt Hon Kadaga as a candidate for President 2026. The same posters and allegations were posted on social media in May 2021, a matter that has been reported to the Uganda Communications Commission and the Security Agencies,” the statement reads in part. “This is to clarify that the posters are fake and intended to cause disharmony in the country,” the statement continues.

The former speaker now wants UCC to take action on whoever is behind the posters citing the computer misuse ACT. During the heated Speaker race which Kadaga lost to Oulanyah early this year, some voices urged her to prepare for the top seat in case she lost. However, she went on to accept the ministerial job. President Museveni would later describe her as smart and flexible, saying when he proposed to her that they needed to reorganize, she agreed.

“I want to congratulate my young sister. This time when I made these proposals, because she was already Speaker of Parliament which is a high post… although I did not give her all the reasons, I told her I had strong reasons why I want us to reorganize and proposed this. She agreed,” Museveni said.

“I want to congratulate her. Blessed are the humble for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. People who are smart that is what they do. They are flexible. Positions are not the important thing; the important thing is the mission.” Museveni was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Kadaga.
Kadaga was for 10 years the Speaker of Parliament, one the topmost positions in the Ugandan government but was trounced by his deputy, Jacob Oulanyah in the speakership race last month.

Museveni said he was happy that Kadaga accepted the position given to her in the new cabinet.

“I want to congratulate my young sister Rebecca on being appointed and swearing-in as Deputy Prime Minister. I want to thank her particularly first of all, for being one of the people who rallied to the NRM quite early when it had come to government,” Museveni said.

The president explained that Kadaga started in the LC system in the village committees until she came to National Resistance Council and later as deputy speaker and then, Speaker of Parliament.

“She is somebody who has been contributing for a long time. This time I want to thank her for her modesty and humility,” he said.

Museveni used this opportunity to castigate people who he said go for the peripheral and ignore crucial issues.

“There is a statement which is normally read in the Church of Uganda Prayer book. They left undone what they ought to have done, they did what they ought not to have done and there is no truth in them. This is what has caused problems for Africans. They leave crucial things and go peripheral,” he said.

Museveni hailed Kadaga whom he likened to Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew for helping to transform the country.

“This is the spirit that I want our people to have. To know that it is not the position, it’s the mission. As long as the mission is being pushed we are happy. Lee Kuan Yew must have died a happy man because whatever he was doing, was continued by the young people. I want to congratulate and thank Rebecca on this,” he said.

KADAGA NOT ALONE

In August this year, former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda also came out to dismiss reports linking him to the presidency in 2026.

“I have read social media postings and suggestions that I should run for President in 2026. I would like to make it known that I have no such intentions or plans,” he said in a post on Twitter.

Rugunda was made a special envoy in the president’s office after being dropped as Prime Minister and replaced by Robinah Nabbanja.

WIDER PICTURE

President Museveni who has led Uganda for 35 years has not talked about retiring, at least publically, and therefore it remains to be seen whether he will seek a re-election in 2026 as succession debate seems to be gaining momentum.

It is a public secret that those who have attempted to eye Museveni’s seat especially within the movement have since fallen down the pecking order. They have ended up being treated like an Ebola patient (read being isolated and crushed).
Analysts say, Rugunda and Kadaga are not that kind of ‘a miscalculating politician’ who would want to behave like they have nothing to lose by challenging their longtime comrade and master.
To bring this into context, pundits say, Ugandans should reflect on 2014-2016 events when former Prime Minister and NRM Secretary General, Amama Mbabazi, attempted to challenge Museveni. He was very powerful by all means. But guess what happened—Mbabazi was totally obliterated. He lost his SG and PM posts and the last straw to break the camel’s back was when a young girl from Koboko, Evelyne Anite, moved a resolution in Kyankwanzi which declared Museveni the NRM sole presidential candidate. Mbabazi went on to stand as an independent on the Go Forward ticket but only managed to get 136,519 votes. He was isolated and crushed from all points. All of his friends he hoped to rely on deserted him—Rugunda and Kadaga must have learnt a lesson.

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