Kampala- President Museveni has praised his former prime minister Amama Mbabazi for his contribution towards the liberation struggle that brought the ruling National Resistance Army (NRA) into power in 1986.
Mr Museveni was speaking at the giveaway (Kuhingira) of Mr Mbabazi’s niece, Ms Bridget Birungi to Mr Andile Ramaphosa, the son of South African president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, at a colourful ceremony in Kololo, Kampala at the weekend.
“We were able to rebuild networks among the intellectuals while we kept the others which had not been exposed, especially among the workers. So from 1974, the family of the Hon Mbabazi and Jackie, helped our struggle. They contributed to our struggle greatly, so I thank them,” Mr Museveni said.
The President also thanked his former close ally for inviting him to attend his niece’s giveaway.
“I want to thank my young brother and my sister in-law Jackie Mbabazi, for inviting me with Mama Janet for the Kuhingira of the child of this freedom fighter, whom I did not know. I thank them very much,” Mr Museveni said.
This was the third time in four years that the duo met each other after they parted ways due to political differences ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
In September 2014, President Museveni dropped Mr Mbabazi as his premier and replaced him with Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the then Health minister.
Mr Mbabazi went on to form his own political group, Go Forward, and eventually contested against Mr Museveni and others in the general election.
The Electoral Commission declared President Museveni the winner with 60.7 per cent of the total vote, followed by Forum for Democratic Change’s Kizza Besigye and Mr Mbabazi came third with 1.4 per cent.
Mr Mbabazi proceeded to file a presidential election petition before the Supreme Court, challenging the victory.
He listed 28 grounds that he sought court to nullify Mr Museveni’s victory that, among others, included: non-compliance with the law, vote stealing and intimidation of voters by agents of security forces.
The court upheld President Museveni’s victory, saying Mr Mbabazi had not given tangible evidence to nullify it.
During the function, Mr Museveni also praised Mr Ramaphosa for his contribution towards fighting apartheid.
He also praised his counterpart for being a “sharp” businessman who sold him 43 cows.
“I am a cattle keeper apart from helping you with your national problems, my real job is cattle keeping. So one day I was on my farm and I was told that some people from South Africa wanted to see me with president Ramaphosa leading them,” Mr Museveni narrated.
In his parting shots, President Museveni cautioned the newly marrieds not to take the advice of one of their aunties who had earlier in her speech, encouraged them to produce as many children as they can, like 22 in number.
Advice to couple
“Twenty-two children, what for? I do not want to bring controversy at the wedding, but I discourage that recklessness. The habit of having so many children like our mothers was part of social insurance because they were not sure how many would survive because some of them would die. So they had to have so many,” Mr Museveni said.
The function attracted top officials, including Bank of Uganda governor, Emmanuel Mutebile, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, Buganda premier, Peter Mayiga, former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine, among others.
In his remarks, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa thanked Mr Museveni for his visionary leadership. He also thanked Ugandans for helping them with their struggle to overcome apartheid.
“You were so magnanimous, generous. You acted in solidarity with us in the darkest days of apartheid. I cannot thank you enough. This is going to cement us even more although there were more things that brings us together, the relationship between two countries has never been stronger, extremely tight and it is a progressive relationship,” Mr Ramaphosa said.
Nsanzimana Ernest ni Umwanditsi mukuru w’Ikinyamakuru Umuryango. Yatangiye gukorera iki kinyamakuru muri Nzeli 2016, afite Impamyabumenyi y’Icyiciro cya Kabiri cya Kaminuza (A0) mu Itangazamakuru n’Itumanaho yakuye muri Kaminuza y’u Rwanda Ishuri ry’ itangazamakuru n’ itumanaho