Despite being very close friends and bush war comrades, the poor relations between President Yoweri Museveni and his former minister Major General (Retired) Jim Muhwezi Katugugu is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
The latest in the power corridors reveal the once powerful UPDF General (was the overall intelligence chief for Museveni’s NRA rebels) has reached the point of begging friends to have a few minutes’ attention with Museveni but the later seems not interested.
A source reveals how last month, Gen. Muhwezi passed through a friend to secure him a meeting with the president and fortunately, a State House Entebbe official scheduled him among those to meet the big man. Things went south when Mr. Museveni found out that Mr. Muhwezi was among the persons he would meet. Museveni reported fumed and refused to meet Muhwezi who had been waiting for several hours outside.
It is narrated how Jim Muhwezi tried his luck again at the recent wedding of Amanya Mushega and John Kazoora’s children in Wakiso but Mr. Museveni who was also in attendance kept him at bay.
Museveni and Muhwezi reportedly fell out over billions of NRM 2016 elections money in Rukungiri that the later couldn’t validate after the opposition under Dr. Kizza Besigye swept the populous district.
Muhwezi was immediately dropped from cabinet. In a message to her friends, Muhwezi’s wife, Susan Muhwezi said Rukungiri will never get a great politician of Muhwezi’s caliber.
“All I can say Rujumbura and Rukungiri will never get a Jim in the next 50 years,” said Susan.
A former spymaster and NRA war hero, Muhwezi was appointed to the position of Information Minister in a cabinet reshuffle on 1 March 2015 after a long spell on Katebe (undeployed).
Muhwezi was censured by the Ugandan Parliament in 1998 for abuse of office.
On Sunday 27 May 2007, Jim Muhwezi, the former Minister of Health turned himself in to the police, was arrested, booked and sent to Luzira prison, on charges of abuse of office, theft and embezzlement of over Sh1b (approximately US$500,000) in donor funds for immunization. At the height of Muhwezi’s Gavi-related troubles in 2007, according to a September 24, 2008 report published in The Independent magazine, Museveni asked the Rujumbura MP at a State House meeting to apologise in exchange for a presidential pardon. Muhwezi, flanked by his wife Susan and mother-in-law Constance Kabonero, reportedly said he did nothing wrong, and therefore could not apologise. He said his only crime was to carry out the instructions of the president in using Gavi money. Puzzled, Museveni looked on before calling off the meeting. From that point, Muhwezi appeared to be a marked man, politically speaking.
Some political analysts have said that Jim Muhwezi is not doing well financially today, the reason he badly needs to meet Museveni.