In the recently concluded NRM Primaries, ex-Minister Jim Muhwezi claimed NRM’s blessing to represent Rujumbura in the 11th parliament.
Muhwezi collected 27,199 votes (80%) with his closest competitor, Julius Muhuruzi, collecting 4,565 votes.
Muhwezi says the people of Rujumbura have called him back to serve at their pleasure and has fronted ameliorated social services for the region once in parliament. Muhwezi won NRM Primaries in 2016 but would lose to FDC’s Fred Turyamuhweza in the MP race.
We spoke with General Jim Muhwezi briefly about his intentions upon return to the race to represent Rujumbura in the parliament.
- What has life been like for you being out of parliament since 2016? (What have you been doing with your time)
A: I’ve had time to look after my own private, business, and professional interests. I have also had time to have an eagle eye view on the affairs of government and this has been very educative in identifying gaps and the need in order to ensure I serve the people well if elected. Therefore, when I come back I will come back with a lot of wisdom.
- Being a former Member of Parliament, what was your biggest achievement in the August house?
A: I participated in and served on various parliamentary committees. As you know parliament works a lot on committees. For example, I was in the infrastructure committee that worked on the laws that will govern our oil industry. I was on the disciplinary committee which deals with the privileges and discipline. I was on the social services committee and I participated in the passing of a plethora of laws that have helped the country.
- What suddenly inspired you to contest for Bujumbura Seat again?
A: The people and their needs. I responded to the call of the people whom after comparing what I achieved with the inaction of my successor felt compelled to ask me back. I want to work on both in bringing services from the government but also in mobilizing communities and enterprises that will improve their lives, especially for the future of this country, the youth. I hope my legacy will be the fountain of everlasting development in Rujumbura.
- As a political veteran, do you think Uganda’s level of democracy is sufficient?
A: There is definitely a need for civic education, for people to understand the value of their votes and not to be easily swayed by non-issues, propaganda, and conflict that is baseless and has no positive effect on their livelihoods. And above all, electing people that have the interests of the people at heart as opposed to their own.
- What is your campaign manifesto mainly hinged upon?
A: In a multiparty democracy the parties manifesto is the candidates’ manifesto and thus I don’t have a personal program. However, I have things I have pledged to do by myself by being in parliament. For example, mobilizing the youth to engage in income-generating activities, linking them with groups, and supporting organizations that can skill them. Combining govt programs with work in the private sector to ensure the people are given the best chance, and improving their lives. Furthermore, bringing government services like water, electricity and improvement of roads as a starting point
- How do you rate the 10th Parliament and what do you think they missed about you?
A: I think the 10th parliament was composed of a wide array of people and I think the decorum of parliament infamously went below the required standard. Parliament is a respected organ of government where important matters are to be discussed and where the concern should be about the people they represent as opposed to the members themselves. Politics is a service to the people and should be respected as such!
- FDC seems to have held a firm grip in Rukungiri district. How do you intend to change that status quo? 7
A: We have certainly seen a shift in the perspective of the people here, including many of the opposition parties themselves and we are poised to work together with all in the struggle for the advancement of this area.
8. Your comrade Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde thinks the NRM has been swayed from its vision. Do you agree and why?
A: As I’ve said before, Uganda is a democratic country. Those who went to the bush went with a multitude of visions for their country. And thus we cannot dismiss their autonomy now. While my comrade has his own vision which he is certainly entitled to, I myself believe we can and should correct these shortcomings from within. The NRM isn’t a one man party – it’s a combination of views and voices each of which matter.
There have been challenges for sure and it’s right to admit and accept that the party has not been perfect. There is still work to be done in terms of service delivery. However, simultaneously, we cannot neglect the advancements: in terms of democracy, stability things at one point we could’ve only dreamed of. But there’s still work to be done and that is what we continue to struggle for.
9. Given the fact that you were once the Minister in charge of Health, do you think it is safe to conduct elections at such a moment where the country is fighting a global pandemic?
A: Certainly, as long as SOP’s are observed and respected. conducting an election is important and especially at such a time, it is necessary to ensure we have good leadership in order to navigate this pandemic. Thankfully, people are observing SOPs and at the present moment in these rural areas COVID-19 is not at its worst and I think there is no increased danger
10. Any last words for your voters?
I would like to thank them for the overwhelming support they have given me thus far and we will build on this success to win in the general elections