Joseph Kabuleta: is he a force or farce?

The life of outspoken Joseph Kabuleta keeps evolving and not without controversy; from a critical journalist to suave church minister and now a politician who has a conviction he will be Uganda’s next leader.

As farfetched as this may seem given the timing, limited experience and contribution to political struggles, Kabuleta insists he is not deluded, writes Ernest Jjingo.

I have never entered into any competition to participate. The problem many people have is that there is this man mountain built over President Museveni as though he is invisible, which we have to dismantle.

The public is yet to comprehend that you are really standing for president to win…it seems you’re on a mission to raise your profile…

I have never entered into any competition to participate. The problem many people have is that there is this man mountain built over President Museveni as though he is invisible, which we have to dismantle.

I believe we can but people should first take up the call and demand that we are partakers in the wealth of this country. I have been hatching this plan [for presidency] for more than a year and have been doing a lot of ground work upcountry and people there have appreciated what I have said to them.

Why do you think you are the anointed one?

The difference with me is that I am giving people an end game, something to judge me by. The only person who is giving actual valuables in this election is me. Many countries like Tanzania and Rwanda have developed because of their good leadership yet we have more valuable resources than them. We import very many things which we have comparative advantage on, like agricultural products, which is ridiculous.

Our agriculture system is full of cartels which make sure that the prices are low and farmers sell to them at a loss. They have made sure that all those businesses which can make rural people rich are destroyed because for them they want to make abnormal profits.

How do you explain the feeling that you’ve come out to gain national and international status?

I am standing to become president and I am going to be president. I am not standing for political profile. I cannot under any circumstances withdraw from the race and I cannot under any circumstances get into an alliance unless I am its leader because anybody who has studied the politics of this country knows that alliances have not worked, and secondly I am better all the other people who would want me to be in an alliance with them. I am in this to win it; I am not in it for posturing.

Where do you drive your mandate? There is no prominent individual backing you to suggest you have a wave you are riding on.

The wave has just started, give me some time and it is going to build in momentum eventually. There are so many people who are wishing me well but they do not see how it is going to happen and I understand that.

But let them give me time. I have a full plan which is going to lead me to the presidency and when I get there, I have a covenant that I have made with Ugandans. We are going to see what they call breaking the ceiling.

How ready are you for the murky world of politics?

I have already experienced it, though not the full extent of it because some people have seen worse but when you enter in a race like this, you have to consider whatever cost even if it costs me my life. The thing with being like me is that you do not fear to die, dying to me is just changing address to an actually better one.

I have zero fear in me right now because I realized that what has kept Ugandans in bondage is fear. People have been telling me that I should go slow and this is a bold step but what is so bold about me declaring my presidential intentions?

Some were telling me that I am going to annoy Museveni, so that he does what? Let him do what he can do. How long are we going to be living in fear? What I am doing now is awakening Ugandans from fear but they do not have to do what I am doing but rather support me.

If anything, talk is that the power behind you is Prophet Evis Mbonye. To what extent has he influenced your decision?

First of all, he has not prophesied that I will be president because he makes them in public and if he did that it would be everywhere. But being part of his ministry has made me a much better person, bolder and someone who understands the calling of God upon my life better. A lot had changed in my life and I am glad to be part of his ministry but he has not prophesied that I am going to be president.

Don’t you fear a purge against the your ministry now that you are dreaming of state power?

Thankfully Prophet Mbonye is even more fearless than I am so he doesn’t fear things as small as the state. He serves and speaks to a God that is superior to anybody else and so do I. When you fear God and know Him, there is no room left for fear.

There is a school of through that you are too elitist to reach out to the ordinary person…

Thankfully money is a universal language and the suffering that Ugandans are going through is universal so you just have to present yourself as that.

The rants are written for a certain caliber of people but you also have to know that for a lot time when I was writing the rants I was also speaking in many community churches in Luganda. I am a good communicator so I will talk to people based on who they are.

But you exude a lot of class and out of touch with the ordinary Ugandan…

The universal language so is money. I speak a universal language of sports and money and that is enough for someone to understand who I am. By the way I am not elitist. Twenty years ago when I had joined the media I was living in a slum (Kamwokya) so I completely know that life.

The other day I met Bobi Wine and we reminded ourselves on how we would go and eat kikomando in Kamwokya near his offices with the late Kenneth Matovu. The so called elitism you people see is just writing talent.

Beyond being a pastor what else do you do? Have you done anything to show that you have the capacity to empower Ugandans?

Beyond being a pastor I am actually nothing apart from now being a presidential aspirant.

So how can you convince someone that you are going to financially transform their life when you have not done anything for yourself?

I may not have business argument but I might have the ability to create an environment politically for people who have business argument to thrive because that is a talent.

I believe am a talented leader and I have leadership qualities which will make business people thrive because of the environment I will put in place. I do not need to have done it myself, maybe that would have been good but it is not an absolute perquisite to me.

How are you going to win this scientific election?

There is not going to be a scientific election. We are going to campaign. Nobody likes this situation but none of the other people who are coming are offering any solution and giving an end game and for me that is where my strength is. My end game is financial empowerment and liberation because there is a depression and suppression of people financially.

What likely scenarios are seeing you winning, through the counting of ballots or a revolution?

Through a wave or revolution where people stand up for themselves and it has happened in some countries. It has already started here and it is going to go on and on.

Any last words…

I have a clear message for Ugandans. Actually I am the only one who has any message of any kind and it is one that every person can resonate with. People have asked me where my base is, my base is all the broke people in this country who feel that they have been suppressed and I think that is all of us apart from that small section of people.

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