President Museveni has opened up and said he picked DP’s Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi for a ministerial appointment due to her mobilisation skills.
The president said this on Tuesday while at Maleku, Kibinge sub-county in Bukomansimbi to preside over Nakiwala’s thanksgiving for her appointment as state minister for youth and children affairs.
“I first heard of her activities in Kampala where she was involved with the youths, mobilising them for development activities and sports,” Museveni said, clearly excited by a mammoth crowd.
“I didn’t know her but she was introduced to me by her sister, Dr Grace Nambatya Kyeyune, who told me that she was a very hardworking woman. My investigations confirmed that she is indeed a hardworking person, and when I talked to her about serving in government, she accepted but told me that she had a challenge of her DP husband,” Museveni added.
To Museveni, Nakiwala’s husband, Bukomansimbi South MP Deogratius Kiyingi, is like a person who loses his blanket to a hyena.
“The mere fact that the hyena managed to take your blanket, you cannot claim to be safe. It [hyena] might come back for you. Since now I have the blanket [Nakiwala], I may come back and get [Kiyingi] to my side,” Museveni said.
Kiyingi, a DP leader in Bukomansimbi, became a darling of opposition supporters in the district during the 2008 by-election after Maurice Peter Kagimu Kiwanuka, son of DP founder Benedict Kiwanuka, joined the ruling party.
Being home to the Kiwanuka family, Bukomansimbi is one of the districts that have over the years given Museveni and his NRM candidates a hard time. However, if the Tuesday event and mammoth crowd are anything to go by, Nakiwala could turn around the NRM’s fortunes.
The dusty roads were decorated with banana plants and arches with banners of Museveni and Nakiwala, which seem to have elated Museveni. The president couldn’t hide his joy as he spoke about past difficulties he faced to raise a crowd in the district.
“I am happy that Bukomansimbi is suddenly responding to the NRM politics of development and value addition that I have been preaching for some time,” Museveni said.
Museveni added that his interest had shifted from the politics of looking at the political ideology of the people he is serving with to their ability to work.
“My interest now is about development, ssi langi za bisaati saati byammwe ebyo [not the political party colours that one is donning]; I want hardworking people,” Museveni said.
Museveni’s helicopter landed about 1km away from Kiyingi’s house at Kaggogo village and then his convoy was led to the MP’s house where he had brief meeting with his host’s family. Museveni then toured the Kiyingi family plantation as well as that of their neighbour, Rashid Jjuuko, to whom the president promised building materials for an agricultural youth training centre.
He then proceeded to a private meeting with Masaka Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa at Buyoga Catholic parish.
Happy to have a minister for a wife, MP Kiyingi offered to lobby opposition leaders to work with Museveni for the development of their constituencies.
“I offer to teach opposition politicians in leadership positions to understand that they are part of government, they need to understand that we need to work together for the development of our constituencies other than opposing every programme that the government comes up with,” Kiyingi said.
Interviewed yesterday, Kiyingi said: “You can’t be in leadership, driving in a government car and think you can oppose government programmes. It’s like opposing yourself.”
Kiyingi’s speech at the event excited the NRM diehards but annoyed the staunch DP supporters, especially his revelation of having written the letter that invited Museveni to the event with an intention of improving the president’s relations with the people of Kibinge sub-county, a known opposition stronghold.
In her speech, Nakiwala told Museveni that she had proved that it was difficult to fight and defeat Museveni. A similar view, she said, is shared by the DP grassroots leaders that attended the event.
“Your Excellency, I pledge my support to you, I pledge my commitment to you, and I pledge to change the world and make it a better place on your behalf,” she said.