The political heat generated by the perceived contest between Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and President Museveni for the NRM party flag bearer in the 2016 presidential race has now spread upcountry.MPs who are in the constituencies to popularise the Kyankwanzi resolution that recommended President Museveni as the sole NRM candidate for the general polls have been received with mixed responses.
Last week, the MPs were given Shs4 million per sub-county to sell the resolution to the grassroots party members. In Ntungamo, the home district of First Lady Janet Museveni, residents of the municipality on Monday told their MP Yonna Musinguzi to stop talking about President Museveni’s “sole candidature” but concentrate on building and maintaining the NRM structures to keep the party strong.
Residents accused the MPs promoting Museveni’s 2016 project of being “selfish” and fuelling conflict within the party’s top hierarchy saying extending the friction to grassroots will disorganise the whole party set up.
“When we were voting, you told us to support NRM and not Museveni. And Museveni told us that too during his campaigns. For us we do not care if it is Mbabazi or Museveni so long as NRM stands. What you are doing is selfish, it is what is in Parliament not in the NRM at the grassroots,” Mr Kassim Mugabe, a member of the Eastern Division NRM executive told off the MP during the meeting with the residents.
Rev Can Keith Katakanya, the chairperson of NRM Elders League in Ntungamo Municipality, said the political differences at the top organs of the party should not be decentralised to the lower levels.
“What we see are the differences at the top which we know are not yet resolved are you not being misguided to come here to tell us that you have differences? Why don’t you sit those people down and counsel them, show us that the party is in a good position? You people at the top are the ones destroying the party,” the Rev Katakanya charged at the MPs.
Several other speakers accused the local MPs of neglecting critical issues in the NRM and the community like corruption and poor service delivery and instead concentrating on “personal differences” in the party.They also accused the NRM Caucus of suffocating other party organs especially those at the grassroots in decision making. Humbled by the residents’ reactions, MP Musinguzi pleaded that he was simply a messenger sent to tell the people about the NRM caucus resolution at Kyankwanzi. He urged them not to think the party is crumbling due to the perceived internal conflicts being portrayed.“I am simply a messenger. I should not be crucified for the message I give you. But what I know is there have been rumours about Mbabazi’s presidential ambitions and this is what we intended to tell you that they may not be true,” he said.
In Kayunga District, several local NRM leaders told their MPs to stop promoting Mr Museveni’s candidature and allow Mr Mbabazi to take over the party’s flag in the 2016 elections. They said the NRM needs new blood and Mr Mbabazi is the ideal candidate to take the party forward.
In Kigezi sub-region, where Mr Mbabazi comes from, a section of youth leaders have mixed feelings about the Kyankwanzi resolution.Kabale District councillor Alex Owamaani said although the resolution was unfair to other NRM aspirants for the 2016 race, both Mr Museveni and Mr Mbabazi are competent candidates for the task.
“We shall decide on who to vote for during the National Delegates Conference. The MPs coming with cash to popularise their Kyankwanzi resolution is unfair. They are trying to dupe the local voters to buy their resolution,” Mr Owamani said.Kanungu District youth secretary for finance Apollo Matsiko said the endorsement of Museveni as the party’s sole candidate offends democratic principles and affects the party’s cohesion. In Lango sub-region, a section of youth has declared their support for Mr Mbabazi’s candidature. However, in the neighbouring Acholi sub-region the situation seems different and in favour of President Museveni. The NRM Youth chairperson for Nwoya District, Mr Tonny Akena, says their position had already been articulated by the Northern Youth MP Evelyn Anite in February.
Ms Anite moved the motion during the retreat at Kyankwanzi for MPs to endorse Museveni as the party’s sole candidate for 2016. “As youth in Acholi, we do not want to be dragged into things that might fail the development activities that we are taking up now,” said Mr Akena.In Kitgum, the district NRM Youth chairman, Mr Richard Onen, said: “I have only seen Mr Museveni and I cannot compare him with any other person who has not proved his leadership.”
On Tuesday, Mr Omodo Omodo, the Northern Youth League vice chairperson and other youths addressed a joint press conference at Kanberra Hotel in Lira and asked President Museveni to retire so that Mr Mbabazi contests for the country’s presidency.
Police deployed in several sub-counties, where the pro-Mbabazi youths were expected to hold public meetings, to stop them from addressing people.In Karamoja sub-region, a section of voters in Moroto District, threw their weight behind Mr Museveni’s candidature for 2016 but warned him not to waste taxpayers’ money to win votes. However, they added that if Mbabazi is interested in standing for presidency, he should be allowed to contest.
In the Bunyoro sub-region, a big number of residents in Masindi District endorsed Museveni as their candidate for 2016. “We the undersigned NRM members hereby endorse President Museveni as a sole NRM presidential candidate in the 2016 election,” reads a resolution signed on April 14. Compiled by Perez Rumanzi, Steven Ariong, Francis Mugerwa, Makumbi Cissy, Martin Odong, Robert Muhereza.
Nrm mps endorse museveni bidThe NRM Caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi, endorsed President Museveni’s 2016 bid and resolved to persuade the national executive committee, the official party organ mandated to choose flag bearers, to support his sole candidature. In backing Museveni’s 2016 bid, the NRM MPs concluded that the party is safer with a “driver” who has demonstrated ability as the founding leader of the revolution that liberated Uganda, managed to keep the country together given its turbulent political history, built the economy and guaranteed peace and stability.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor