The statement by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze Bakireke that she wouldn’t have any problem joining President Museveni in NRM continues to send ripples of anxiety among Ugandans.
Nambooze, whose fierce political rivalry with the ruling government dates way back to the early 2000s told viewers on national television this week that being the flexible politician she is, she would gladly join President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s NRM should she sense that her voters support the Kyandondo based outfit.
” I am a very flexible leader and I wouldn’t rule out joining NRM if my people of Mukono Municipality asked me to. I would gladly join them without looking at what other people think,” she noted.
Nambooze’s revelation comes barely two weeks after Nobert Mao, her former party president in the Democratic Party (DP) disclosed that more opposition defections were being lined up as President Museveni continues to poach more political energy from his opposers.
Mao, a trans-generational political opponent to President Museveni cut a deal with the ruling side that suddenly saw him join the government as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Before the July 2022 cessation of hostilities announcement, Mao had challenged President Museveni for the top seat on two occasions, the last one being in 2021. He had also been a Member of Parliament for Gulu Municipality and LCV Chairperson for Gulu, both on the DP ticket.
While leading the DP as its President, Mao’s relationship with Nambooze was a largely rocky one. He is popularly remembered for the “dropping plants( Bibowabowa)” phrase which he referred to some leaders including Nambooze, who cling to others for political survival. Nambooze also responded by christening him a “pumpkin” which is green on the surface and yellow inside. This was about Mao’s rumoured back-door dealings with NRM.
But Nambooze’s recent declaration and Minister Mao’s prediction of a mass exodus of leaders from opposition to the government is making many conclude that the time is around the corner to see President Museveni sitting in the same cabinet meeting hall with both Mao and Nambooze.
Nambooze has enjoyed a colourful but largely nomadic political journey. She is reported to have first served the ruling government as an endorsement officer in Mukomo town in the 1990s.
She was implicated in a bribery scandal and charged in court for soliciting a bribe from a local trader but later acquitted.
She joined Parliament on the DP ticket and has never looked back since. She is currently serving her 4th term. A bitter fallout with the DP Mao leadership saw her cling to Col Kizza Besigye on whose popularity she raided to win reelection in 2016. She became a strong ally of the four time Presidential hopeful to the extent of being named to the opposition shadow cabinet.
In 2020, she officially terminated her political marriage with FDC to join Bobi Wine’s NUP. She came under severe fire with many captivating her for betraying Besigye’s trust to seek political survival.
Upon joining NUP, however, Nambooze clearly stated that her NUP membership was not permanent for she planned to return to DP when Mao ceases to be the party President of the City House-based outfit.