Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde has for a while now been courting some opposition elements in an attempt to shore up support for his presidential bid.
The general has been clandestinely engaging a section of key opposition players in the country, more so, the Democratic Party President Norbert Mao. According to sources knowledgeable about the Tumukunde and Mao discussions, the general wants the Democratic Party to back his independent presidential bid.
And if the oldest party in the country is not comfortable backing him, it should at least join him to support a third force that can easily promote their interests. In the 2016 general elections, DP welcomed former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s presidential bid, which garnered a paltry 4% of the vote.
Despite the dismal election results, Tumukunde argues that Mao should take the same route in 2021 by backing him. During the negotiations, Mao reportedly demanded to know what Gen Tumukunde brings to the table politically. Mao argued that DP already has a strong footprint in Buganda and Northern region. Why would the party need Tumukunde.
This was premised on the fact that Gen Tumukunde has not been out of government for long. His way out came in March 2018 after he was dropped as security minister and replaced by
General Elly Tumwiine. Tumukunde claims he has a big following within the National Resistance Movement campaign structures specifically Team Thorough whose patron is the First Lady Janet Museveni and the national coordinator is John Mugisha. Team Thorough is a youthful team that was previously allied to the former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
Most of the vibrant members within Team Thorough eventually crossed to Museveni’s camp as the 2016 general elections drew closer. Launched by the president in January 2019, Team Thorough is a youth wing of the National Resistance movement tasked with dismantling the opposition strongholds all around the country.
According to sources within Team Thorough, cracks within the team are beginning to spill into public view. Team Thorough is now split into two camps stationed in different areas of Kampala. The split is a clear signal that all is not well within the NRM’s A- team. The first team led by Edris Kiiza Kamuntu, the previous national coordinator of Team Thorough, has maintained their home along Kampala Road while the other team led by John Mugisha moved their offices to Kampala’s leafy suburb of Kololo.
The split within Team Thorough was brought on by the realization that Tumukunde could have discreetly infiltrated its campaign structures. The mistrust between the office on Kampala road and the one situated in Kololo shows Tumukunde could have made huge inroads within the team’s campaign structures.
Mugisha’s camp claims that since Tumukunde had earlier on presented himself as a Mayoral candidate, he could have used that ruse to compromise some members within Kiiza’s team. Asked for comment, members within Tumukunde’s camp privy to the negotiations between the general and Mao said the talks are between change loving citizens and are normal.
Within DP’s corridors of power, some members were left disheartened by Mao’s decision to engage with Tumkunde behind their back. They said, “... we are aware that Mao is individually engaging in negotiations with General Tumukunde. Those negotiations are on an individual level not on behalf of the party ...”