The former Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi has today officially declared his candidacy for Uganda’s 2016 Presidential election. He hopes to run through the NRM, in a bid to oust the dictatorial President Yoweri Museveni, who has held office for almost 30 years.
Hon. Mbabazi is known for his opposition to the passing of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act which passed Parliament in December of 2013 and was signed by Museveni in February of 2014. The law was subsequently invalidated by the Courts on a technicality, and may now be introduced back into the Ugandan Parliament, on pupular demand. Hon. Mbabazi also spoke out a month after Parliament passed the anti-gay law, otherwise known as The Kill the Gays Bill, taking the courageous step to call upon Ugandans not to kill gay people.
In his announcement Amama Mbabazi noted:
"You’ll be making a choice for your families, your children, and the generations to come. A new age is upon us, and upon this, our focus must rest. Yesterday is gone, and today’s challenges must have newer, better answers. Uganda can work, together let us make it work."
He further noted: "We need to restore our party, the NRM, and return to its roots – a genuine, accountable and democratic movement. And we, as a country, need to rediscover our democratic principles."
Patrick Amama Mbabazi was the Prime Minister of Uganda from 24 May 2011 to 19 September 2014. Prior to this position, he served as the Minister for Security in the Ugandan Cabinet from February 2009 to May 2011.
Edwin Sesange Ugandan LGBTI, activist and director of the African LGBTI organization, Out and proud Diamond group (OPDG), based in the United Kingdom notes:
"His bid for Presidency in Uganda is likely to open up a new debate on LGBTI rights in Uganda. Let’s hope he will not be smeared or blackmailed for his opposition to the passing of the anti gay bill in 2013. At the moment I can not be optimistic that he will have a pro gay manifesto but will wait for things to unfold as time nears elections. We call upon him to campaign for equal rights and justice for all Ugandans including LGBTI people."
At African HRC it is our hope that the new candidate will run on a ticket of human rights for everyone in Uganda - to focus on corruption, oppression and basic human freedoms for all and that there will be less direct focus on the Anti-Homosexuality Act itself, which may serve to backlash against the courageous run by Hon. Mbabazi.