By Isaac Manzi
The Minister for Youth and Children Affairs and an MP for youth northern region, Evelyne Anite has not looked back since being the chief proposer of `sole candidate for Museveni’ at the NRM MPs retreat in Kyankwazi. She tells Isaac Manzi about why people should not be putting a lot of emphasis on former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s challenge to Museveni.
What do you make of former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s bid to stand against President Yoweri Museveni as NRM chairman and flag-bearer in the 2016 elections?
We have a candidate whom we are promoting; that is President Museveni. When I raised my issue, Mbabazi was one of the people who welcomed it. So I don’t see any reason why Mbabazi should be coming now to seek the NRM chairmanship. He even signed the resolution, his number was 202.He was supposed to oppose it at that time.
As a person who drove the motion to pass the current chairman as a sole candidate, how did you feel when a member of the party seems determined to reject it?
I am not so surprised, but this is a sign of untruthfulness. He is a betrayer, lacks focus,and I can’t trust him anymore. He shouldn’t have signed that resolution – and by that time he had more voice than any other member in the party. He would have used that platform to denounce what was going on. We did not force people to sign, it was a very open motion for saying no or yes.
The resolution from Kyankwanzi in February that passed the current chairman as a sole candidate has been described as illegal. What is your say about that?
There is no illegality. It seemed to be a view, and I am the one who raised it and I was very clear. It was my view, and there was no other view. The Caucus members had to go with that. If Mbabazi has come up and raised his view or told any other member to raise that, the party would have had no problem with that.
Do you think Mbabazi can take the party where it wants to be in future?
I don’t think Mbabazi can take the party where it wants to be in future. He is inexperienced in the party issues. He should have started by changing the party logo to his own and bringing a new formula. For us NRM, we use `Prosperity for All’. How can you say such a person has a heart for the party? He doesn’t deserve to head NRM party. He would have first to let other members of the party endorse him the way I endorsed President Museveni.
A group, the NRM Poor Youth,have also said your current chairman, Museveni, is incompetent. What do you say about that?
To me that’s lack of information about the party. These are the people who would be down from the grassroots mobilising for NRM and they make general reports. The work of the chairman is to supervise the work done by other party leaders such as Secretary General, deputy secretary, treasurer and the mobilisation team. You can’t wake up and say that the chairman of the party has weakened the party.
Some NRM youth have held meetings, rallies, and petitioned to kick Mbabazi out of NRM. What crimes has he committed?
They brought more than five petitions to me and we are trying to internalize those petitions. If we find that the accusations are true we shall see what to do about them. Mostly they accuse Mbabazi of using a different logo together with NRM logo. Some accuse him of sectarianism, bringing out t- shirts before campaign time, and sending a representative at The Democratic Alliance (opposition TDA) meeting. This showed that he no longer has NRM at heart.
Mbabazi is said to have been the driver of NRM before. How has removing him as Secretary General, affected the successful running of the party?
The party has achieved a lot, first of all we purchased land for the party, we have put a plan to build NRM offices at over Shs10 billion. People are contributing from the kindness of their heart. I contributed Shs6 million. In the first of its kind, we are registering members nationally,district by district, village by village, and the party has to run daily. If you go to plot 10 Kyadondo Road where the offices of NRM are, you will find the offices now are working, and many more things are coming.
There have been some beliefs that your appointment was upon driving the motion for Museveni as a sole candidate. What do you say about that?
Only a person who doesn’t know me can think that. Before being appointed as Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, I was a Youth MP (Northern Region) of over 30districts. I had overwhelming support; I defeated 9 gentlemen with 99 percent votes. I have been speaking for NRM on several occasions, so no one should get surprised over me being promoted. Since there have been many appointments, should we think that also those people corrupted HE Museveni? I am a hardworking lady and do my things with passion.
Are you going to stand again as Youth MP Northern region?
I am going to stand as a representative of Koboko Municipality in Koboko district.
Do you hold any post from NRM committee?
Yes, I am the publicity secretary of NRM in my District.
Do you think opposition leader Kizza Besigye and others can exploit the divisions in NRM to their advantage?
NRM is not divided. You have seen many people crossing from FDC to NRM. This shows you that Besigye’s FDC may be more divided than us. The divisions are not there in NRM because Mbabazi was the one who was bringing them there. For example some people in the party have reconciled people who had gone because of Mbabazi being secretary general and they are now coming back. People who had stood as independent in different constituencies are now coming back; there are no divisions in NRM.
As a journalist, do you really see true elements of democracy in NRM?
NRM has democracy. For example, it does not stop any person who feels he/she wants to stand as chairman and other posts. Even when some stand unopposed, it shows democracy. The party uses consensus.