Tuesday, September 14, 2010



By The New Vision Team

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday warned party members who lost the primaries that his party “will not tolerate independent candidates” in the coming general elections.

In his acceptance speech after he was announced as the NRM flag-bearer for the presidential elections next year, Museveni said whoever lost in the primaries due to malpractices can challenge the results and the elections can be repeated.

“But nobody should talk of independence. Bring facts, show that you were cheated and we shall repeat the elections if need be. But we are not going to tolerate independents,” Museveni said. “You can’t be both: either you are inside or outside.”

He spoke after the announcement of results of the top positions of the party after a two-day national conference for 15,000 delegates from across the country.

Museveni was also returned unopposed as the party chairman at Naboole in Kampala in the wee hours of Monday.

In his address, the President said the party opted for the universal adult suffrage in the primaries to avoid independents.

Museveni appealed to all competitors to remain calm. “I appeal to you leaders and your supporters to change your attitude and remain calm. If there is fraud, don’t panic, bring the facts and if they are proved, the elections can be cancelled and the people involved will be charged,” the President said.

Museveni said the party leadership would only work with individuals who have crossed from other parties, but want to remain independents provided they sign a memorandum of understanding with the NRM party.

Pointing at Kampala Mayor Nasser Sebaggala, who was seated with a group of ministers, he said: “We shall only accept and work with friendly individuals, but independent, like Mayor Sebaggala.”

He promised that the NRM electoral commission will start investigating petitions this week. By Friday, 350 petitions had been filed with the party secretariat.

The President also dismissed reports that he asked VP Bukenya and Otafiire to stand down for Mbabazi.

“There is no way Museveni could disorganize the central executive committee (CEC) decision for these positions here,” said Museveni.

“If the CEC wanted to vet anybody out, he would have been vetted out and there would be no question of saying no.”

He attributed the problems faced by the party to lack of the culture of democracy by some members.

“The printer wants to print extra ballot papers, the transporter wants to steal some and the polling officials also disorganize the whole thing,” he observed.

Museveni explained that the idea of the party’s register, known as the Yellow Book, was to have all NRM supporters registered.

“I wanted every NRM member to be registered. But when the Yellow Book reached the villages, it was war. The in-charge would record only his supporters and leave out those of his opponents,” he said.

Museveni said the primaries had been “very interesting” and dismissed the notion that the chaos in the elections showed that the NRM party was not organized.

“We were just 15,000 people, but it took long to vote. Because you do not know how to behave democratically,” he argued.

The President cited two cases where members contested the results for the position of vice- chairperson for Kampala region and deputy secretary general. “Voting is taken like war,”

“I look at this exercise as climbing the Rwenzori with unco-operative members of the mountaineering team, but also without adequate equipment.”

Museveni disclosed that the party spent sh4b in organizing the elections. “They should be applauded for what they did although there were many shortcomings.

Kiggundu needs sh197b to run the national election with 23,000 polling stations, yet we had 60, 000,” he said.

The President on Sunday night gave sh400, 000 to each of the 32 music groups that performed at the conference.

He outlined his priority in the next five years as electricity, roads, railway, ICT, modernization of agriculture, industrialization, science-oriented education and health.

Delegates scrambled for the spoils as campaign agents openly distributed money, T-shirts and sodas to groups to vote in their favour.

Journalists were not left out either. After a week of rumours about a sh80m budget for the media, some journalists confronted the NRM party secretariat administrator, Dr. Hassan Galiwango, who is said to have released sh4m, which a selected group of journalists shared, each getting sh85, 000.

This angered other journalists who protested that their names had been used to obtain the money.

In the elections, al-Hajji Moses Kigongo was returned unopposed for first national vice-chair and Rebecca Kadaga for second national vice-chairperson.

Also unopposed were the national treasurer, Amelia Kyambadde, the former President’s Private Secretary and the vice-chairman for the east, Capt. Mike Mukula.

The hotly contested position of NRM secretary general was retained by Amama Mbabazi after he beat Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the trade minister.