Museveni backs wife to take over as Uganda’s President

Yowari Museveni will apparently not provoke a Constitutional crisis and remain in office after age 75 but he is backing his wife as the NRM standard bearer when he retires. This according to the East African:

Apparently, First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni has emerged as the preferred successor to the president, with the full backing of her husband, who is also chairman of the ruling National Resistance Movement.

Senior security sources told The EastAfrican that the president dropped the name of his wife, who is also Ruhaama MP and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, a few weeks ago while meeting top army generals, who form a critical power base of the regime, and whose support will be key to whoever succeeds the incumbent.

The source added that the generals did not expect this twist in the succession saga.

“There was a loud silence in the room. Army chiefs were all in disbelief [that he could name his wife for successor]. I don’t know how it will end because they [generals] have remained quiet, instead of coming out in support of Mzee’s choice,” said the source.

Janet Museveni has been rumored as more conservative than her husband and was named as being behind the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda.

Janet Museveni denies role in Uganda's anti-gay bill, says Bahati is the source

Recently, Uganda’s Daily Monitor summarized diplomatic cables from the office of U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier. Some of those communications, released on Wikileaks website, implicated Uganda’s First Lady Janet Museveni as the originator of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Today, in the government affiliated media outlet New Vision, Mrs. Museveni responded to charges leveled in those cables. In her article, she denied being involved in the creation of the bill.

The second Daily Monitor report alleges that I am the initiator of the Gay Bill. This ludicrous claim is not only an insult to Hon. Bahati, the originator of the bill but also to me, because it implies that I need to hide behind someone else in order to introduce a bill in parliament.
I believe Ugandans know by now that I have always had the courage to stand by my convictions – even when they go against the grain of prevailing popular opinion. I think I have adequately demonstrated, in my work over the years, that I can boldly stand by what I believe in without fear or favour.

In other words, if she had wanted to see the bill become law, she would have introduced it herself.
Reports of the bill’s origins conflict. Ugandan minister Julius Oyet once claimed that various ministers, including Martin Ssempa, and other Christian leaders in Uganda looked for a member of Parliament to introduce the bill and asked Bahati to be the one. Certainly, Ssempa had involvement with the bill before it was introduced. He sent a copy of the bill to me which originated in a Las Vegas area Christian school (Faith Lutheran) dated August 11, 2009 which was long before the October 14, 2009 introduction of the bill in Uganda. Whether Ssempa helped author it or not, he was privy to the bill before it was introduced.

Wikileaks: Uganda's First Lady behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

So says Uganda’s Daily Monitor:

The First Lady Ms Janet Museveni, was behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, US Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, said in a leaked diplomatic cable.
The revelation was made by Senior Presidential Adviser John Nagenda, during a discussion with a US embassy political officer.
In Mr Lanier’s comments which were leaked on September 1, by whistleblower Wikileaks, Mr Nagenda is quoted to have told the US embassy that President Museveni is “quite intemperate” when it comes to homosexuality, but the First Lady, who he described as ‘a very extreme woman,’ “is ultimately behind the bill.”
Mr Nagenda further told the US government that the bill’s most vociferous public supporter, the ex-Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo, was responsible for a campaign of mass arrests – known by the Swahili term ‘panda gari’ – during the Obote II regime.
Mr Nagenda said Buturo is using the anti-homosexuality legislation to redefine himself and “will do anything in his power to be a populist.” He advised the US and other donors to refrain from publicly condemning the Bill as this fuels the anti-homosexual and anti-western rhetoric of the Bill’s proponents.
When contacted, Mr Nagenda agreed to the contents in the Wikileaks report saying it is a well representation of what he discussed with the US embassy political officer.
“There must be a word here and there which is inaccurate but the overall all spirit of what I said is well represented,” he said. “I had a conversation with the political officer who came to my house and we discussed issues about the homosexuality bill.”

Reading the rest of the article, it appears that President and Mrs. Museveni were at odds on the issue. The President was assuring the U.S. that the bill would be derailed or weakened and Mrs. Museveni was pushing the matter forward.
If these leaks represent reality, it appears that there are powerful forces in Uganda who will work against the bill but do not want to be viewed as favoring gays. Recent Cabinet actions to quash the bill seem to be extensions of Museveni’s promise to the US. The Parliament’s reaction was to declare the bill to be off limits to the Executive branch. With this back drop, it will be interesting to watch who steps up to advocate for and against the bill.