As a cloud of secrecy shrouds what transpired in Monday’s parliamentary caucus of the ruling NRM, sources confirmed yesterday it was agreed that the MPs set off on a countrywide campaign to drum-up support for President Museveni’s sole candidacy in the 2016 elections.
“The proceedings were in-house so the update is that there’s no comment,” Mr David Bahati, the caucus deputy chairperson, said about the meeting which took place at State House.
However, Moyo West MP, Tom Aza told this newspaper that it was agreed that county and district conferences be held to sensitise the party’s grassroots about the Kyankwanzi resolutions adopted by the caucus at its February retreat.“We were asked to sensitise the masses about the Kyankwanzi resolutions and NRM achievements in the field of health, education, infrastructure and we came up with a way forward,” Mr Aza said yesterday.
Amongst the Kyankwanzi resolutions is the proposal to have Mr Museveni as the unopposed contender for the party chairmanship and the sole flag bearer in 2016.An undisclosed amount of money is reportedly expected to be given to each MP for the envisaged campaign. It is not clear if this money is linked to another undisclosed sum distributed to women members of the caucus on the night of March 7.It is said that Mr Museveni, the current party chairperson, had earlier on appointed a small committee to market the Kyankwanzi resolutions but MPs reportedly insisted that they organise the conferences.
The exercise is reportedly scheduled to start on March 20. Selling the Kyankwanzi resolutions means that the caucus is seeking to gain the support of delegates ahead of the expected national conference next year. The decision comes amidst accusations from some MPs that the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi had built a network of supporters at the grassroots, a charge he denies. Last week, the PM said he will not run against Mr Museveni although he has previously observed that party organs will take a final decision on the issue. Districts and county conferences under the NRM constitution comprise the local leadership of the party that is delegated to attend the crucial national conference.
NRM deputy spokesperson and government Media Centre boss Ofwono Opondo yesterday said the MPs would be working within their mandate.“They are chairpersons of the district and county NRM committees so when they make resolutions like in Kyankwanzi, it is their duty to go and explain to the members,” Mr Opondo said.
The conferences are expected to resolve to support the original Kyankwanzi resolution and as Mr Opondo says, although such resolutions are not binding, they carry significant political weight “because it is the same people who will attend the delegates’ conference.”The delegates’ conference decides if President Museveni will have a competitor or not.
Reaction:“It is significant if they go to their counties to endorse their resolutions because they will in a way be preparing for their own re-election. It also keeps the party’s image alive.” Ofwono Opondo, NRM deputy spokesperson
SOURCE: Daily Monitor