John Patrick Amama Mbabazi announced in June this year that he would compete for the position of chairman of the National Resistance Movement and party flag-bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
This brought to an end months of speculation triggered by first his dropping from the Cabinet in September 2014 and his ouster from the position of secretary general of the NRM in January 2015.
While still maintaining he is a member of the NRM he forwent his right to challenge his long-time ally President Yoweri Museveni for the party’s leadership by declaring at the end of July, he would run for the presidency as an independent.
Born in 1949 in Rukiga County of the present day Kabale district, Mbabazi decided early in life to study law when his family was disposed of their land for lack of representation in court. He did his secondary school at Kigezi College Butobere and Ntare School before joining Makerere University to study law in 1972.
He served as a state attorney in the Attorney General’s office during Idi Amin’s regime after which he became the director of legal service of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). In 1981, he fled to Nairobi and then onwards to Sweden, where he helped set up the external wing of the National Resistance Movement.
In 1986, he returned to Kampala after the NRA had overrun Kampala. He was the External Security Organisation’s (ESO) first Director General. He was a delegate to the Constituent Assembly in 1994 before going on to become a State Minister in charge of the presidency and the first substantive defence minister under the NRM government.
He later became security minister before he was appointed prime minister in 2011.
Mbabazi may have had his eye on the presidency for a while having famously admonished Dr. Kizza Besigye for “jumping the queue” when he broke away from the NRM to run for the presidency in 2001.