Politics: Ssemujju, Baryamureeba face-off

Former Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Venansius Baryamureeba claimed last week that he had spoken to God who advised him to join the ruling NRM party.

While many in NRM are still silent about Baryamureeba’s announcement, the former presidential candidate is facing wide criticism especially from opposition politicians.

This morning, Baryamureeba faced off with Chief Opposition Whip also Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda on NBS TV’s Morning Breeze show.

When asked by show host Simon Kaggwa Njala of what he made of Baryamureeba’s announcement, Ssemujju without mincing words called Baryamureeba a fortune hunter.

To Ssemujju, Baryamureeba should be part of the group that campaigning to offer leadership to Uganda other than joining the clique of fellow professors who looking for favours from the government.

“Increasingly, they (Professors) have become fortune hunters and that’s a disappointment. I’m expressing disappointment in professors like Baryamureeba… You should be campaigning to offer this country leadership but instead, you’re joining a group that is doing things that I’ve been listing as hindrances,” Ssemujju said.

Reflecting back on Baryamureeba’s days as Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Ssemujju said, Baryamureeba was looked at an asset to the country.

“Someone of Baryamureeba’s caliber should be discussing issues affecting this country and giving us solutions, but he also wants to join the table which is disappointing. He is shaming the title of a professor,” Ssemujju said.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for Ibanda University, in Ibanda district last Friday, Baryamureeba said that he had had “consultations with God” upon which he made a decision to join NRM.

“I have been having a close discussion with my God for the last two years and we have agreed together that I should join NRM as my political party,” Baryamureeba said.

His first direct shot at politics was in 2015 when he got nominated as an independent candidate for the 2016 presidential elections.

Incensed by Ssemujju’s attacks, shot back accusing Uganda’s opposition politicians of having double standards.

“Anyone who joins another party is okay and is seen doing the right thing, but when you join the NRM, then that’s not okay. Joining NRM is a personal conviction and we should give people the benefit of doubt. I’m going to make a major contribution to the party, just wait and see,” Baryamureeba said.

He argued that it is wrong for NRM to be seen as President Yoweri Museveni saying that the ruling party is an institution that he is now offering to render his service.

“There’s a General feeling in the opposition that any intelligent person shouldn’t join NRM but I’m joining NRM to help them do better. Parties accommodate everybody provided you share the same ideology. I don’t just belong, I first pray about an issue and get guidance from God. I’m joining NRM in principal,” Baryamureeba said.