Exclusive interview: Bobi wine is a Traitor! Says JEEMA’S Ssentongo Kyamundu

NUP President- Bobi Wine

Approaching the 2021 general elections, the National Unity Platform (NUP), led by Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, formed an alliance with the Justice Forum (JEEMA) to strengthen their electoral efforts. However, concerns have arisen about Kyagulanyi's alleged shift in allegiance, as asserted by certain JEEMA officials.

In an interview with The Story Hawker, JEEMA's spokesperson, Ssentongo Kyamundu, expressed the view that Kyagulanyi betrayed the party. Kyamundu hinted at potential measures to prevent JEEMA members from participating in NUP activities in response to this perceived betrayal.

See full interview below….

JEEMA’s Ssentongo Kyamundu

Who is Ssentongo Kyamundu? I am the spokesperson of JEEMA, an educationist, and a farmer.

What is your opinion on the current political situation in the country? We have a country without direction today. A country that has a leader who has ruled us for close to four decades and still wants to. A country that is engulfed with insecurity, extra judicial killings of its citizens, gross violations of human rights and an impoverished population. We are sitting on a time bomb. Some people believe that this country is facing a major issue of governance linked to transition politics. What is your perspective on this matter? But we have no transition politics in Uganda to talk about. Mr Museveni is still chest thumping about how he’s still strong physically and mentally to steer this country forward. He has failed in everything compared to his predecessors. We hear he’s preparing his son to take over from him. That is succession not transition. In your opinion, do we have the necessary institutions and framework to address the issue of missing persons? I don’t think so. Some issues shall be known in the next government. Asking accountability of missing persons from a dictatorial regime that kidnapped them is a waste of time. Speaker Anita Annet Among recently threatened to invoke Parliamentary rules of procedures to expel opposition legislators who boycotted plenary for nearly a month. What is your viewpoint on this? The speaker has no law supporting her actions but I am happy she retracted her statements. But even then, she was wrong. She’s supposed to be neutral in her undertakings. What we expected from her was to force the government to resolve issues that the opposition put across. What is your stance on the issues of human rights in the country? The human rights situation in Uganda is dire in all spheres. Chapter four of our constitution stipulates the fundamental human rights and establishes the Uganda Human Rights Commission which has failed in its mandate. In 2020, JEEMA launched a campaign to diversify the message of proportional representation as an alternative electoral system. Will this system work in Uganda? How far has its progress been? True JEEMA presented a proposal for our country to get proportional representation and I think very many people bought it. I heard the constitutional affairs minister intimating about bringing a bill in parliament in that regard. But we still maintain that it’s the best political system for Uganda. Many Ugandans have been questioning why JEEMA, as a party, has failed to make progress despite its existence for some time. What can you tell them? I don’t know what you mean by not progressing? JEEMA has had leaders on all levels from LC1 to LC5 and parliament save for a president of Uganda and no opposition party has succeeded. We have all stopped at fronting candidates. What are some of the strategies that the party has implemented to increase its vibrancy? We are engaged in many things. We are currently building structures in universities and other tertiary institutions, we are building structures for the next delegates conference and many other things. What is your relationship with the National Unity Platform (NUP)? One of your party leaders mentioned that Robert Kyagulanyi betrayed you. Yes, he betrayed us in the 2021 elections, but we are focused on a bigger goal. NUP leaders also don’t recognize JEEMA as a party. They only choose individuals in the party to cooperate with. But we are considering stopping our members from participating in their undertakings should they not go through the official party channels though we are mindful of forces of change unity. What is your evaluation of the performance of the current Parliament? Some people claim that it has been captured by the regime. This parliament is the worst since independence. It has young and inexperienced members. I think it was wrong to reduce the minimum age of MPs. If given a chance, we propose it be fixed at 35. We need a lean parliament with experienced people in different fields.

Do you expect to contest in 2026? If yes, where?

I will cross the bridge when I reach it.

Most Ugandans see JEEMA as a Muslim based party. What explains that and what has the party done to change that perception? It is not true that JEEMA is a Muslims political party. But at its inception, the party advocated for marginalized groups then. They included Muslims, women and People with Disabilities (PWDs). So many people from those groups joined the party. Lastly, there are rumors that your party leader has been bought by the regime, resulting in his current silence. What can you say about it? But according to the parliament Hansard, Acumen Basalirwa is the best MP. He has sponsored a number of private member’s bills including the famous Anti Homosexuality Act, Islamic finance act among others. Maybe those making the rumors are oblivious to those facts.

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