Senior NRM officials have revealed how the party plans to overcome legal obstacles to the removal of Amama Mbabazi as secretary general.
Thousands of party faithful are in Kampala for tomorrow’s special delegates’ conference at Namboole stadium, with the position of secretary general high on their agenda. Mbabazi, sacked as prime minister in September, has fallen out with Chairman Museveni but his term does not expire until next year.
Mbabazi warned last week, during a meeting with 100 NRM delegates in Mbarara, that despite being on leave from his role as NRM secretary general, he did not intend to relinquish the position until his term of office expires in September 2015 (See Mbabazi meets NRM delegates). He said he would sue if anyone attempts to remove him.
Last week, Edgar Tabaro, a member of the NRM legal sub-committee for the conference, said they were ready to deal with Mbabazi, legally speaking: “If Mbabazi sues for whatever happens, we are prepared for him.”
Through interviews, The Observer has learnt that the NRM leadership would use the conference to fire Mbabazi.
According to our source close to the actual planning, Adolf Mwesige, the Local Government minister and chairperson of the NRM legal committee, will do the hatchet job.
“… It will be simple because [Adolf] Mwesige, who is the chairman of the NRM legal committee will stand and read the proposal to amend the constitution to provide that the secretary general be appointive and not elective,” the source said.
“Then, he [Mwesige] will say that the term of office of the current secretary general ceases immediately, and the matter will be opened for discussion [by the delegates] and we shall propose that we get a new secretary general with immediate effect],” the source said.
It was not possible to speak to Mwesige by press time, as he was said to be locked in a meeting at State House. Some people have argued that legally, the anticipated constitution changes cannot work retrospectively – meaning that Mbabazi’s tenure as SG can only end with the terms of other executive members.
But Peter Walubiri, a constitutional lawyer, pointed out in an interview on Friday that the delegates’ conference, being the supreme organ of the party, can structure the amendment in such a way that it shortens Mbabazi’s tenure immediately.
“It [delegates’ conference] can literally turn water into alcohol. It can, for instance, create an avenue that makes it imperative for the secretary general to relinquish the post with immediate effect,” Walubiri said.
Mbabazi’s removal is only one proposal among many, the party wants to push through the delegates’ conference. But insider sources say party strategists are reluctant to muscle through the NRM MPs’ controversial February 2014 Kyankwanzi resolution that seeks to endorse President Museveni as the party’s ‘sole candidate’ going into 2016.
The strategists, sources say, argue gly that any attempt to use Monday’s conference to “adopt” the MPs’ resolution would be successfully challenged legally.
“If the delegates use the Namboole delegates’ conference to adopt Museveni’s sole candidature, it will be easily defeated in courts of law because they would have used a wrong forum to ratify it and anyone in Uganda can easily do it [challenge],” a source said.
The source said tomorrow’s conference is not about elections but about the future of NRM and amending its constitution.
“So, we have already cautioned Adolf Mwesige never to allow it [Kyankwanzi resolution] in the conference,” the source added.
Besides seeking to have an appointed secretary general, the party also seeks to adopt a resolution for presumptive presidential flag bearers to pay Shs 20 million in nomination fees while contestants for parliamentary posts pay Shs 5,000,000. Those seeking to vie for the district leadership on the party ticket would pay Shs 2,000,000 each.
The Central Executive Committee, the second highest decision-making organ in the party, met on Saturday to debate and refine the proposals. Most recommendations were drawn from the Rosemary Sseninde report on the chaotic 2010 NRM primaries.
In an interview with The Observer on Friday, Mbabazi’s sister-in-law Hope Mwesigye hinted at the possibility of blocking the amendments on grounds that the party didn’t follow the laid-down legal procedures for it to amend its constitution.
The anticipated changes to the NRM constitution have to conform with Article 71 of the national constitution and Sections 10 and 11 of the Political Parties and Organizations Act 2005, provisions which, Mwesigye argues, have not been followed.
“We have been told that we are going to amend the constitution it is part of the agenda that they gave us, but they have not given us the proposed amendments,” Mwesigye said.
“I find this an anormally, but we shall argue it out [at Namboole],” Mwesigye, the NRM chairperson for Kabale district, said.
She said that she hoped the organizers of the meeting would tolerate divergent views because she is among the delegates that will not allow to be gagged.
Although the organizing committee through newspaper and TV aerts on Friday announced that names of delegates to today’s meeting would be published on the NRM website www.nrm.ug, by close of business on Saturday, the organizing committee was still struggling to produce the list.
Several delegates were turned away by soldiers manning the gates at Kololo, the venue for the accreditations. And when the confusion got too much, ministers Richard Todwong (Political Mobilization) and Frank Tumwebaze (Presidency and Kampala) were called in but could not offer any instant solutions.
Outside the Kololo ceremorial grounds, several delegates took shelter under tree shades while the tents that covered much of the tarmac remained empty.
“We are still compiling the lists they are not ready yet,” said a visibly exhausted Todwong.
Source : The Observer