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Museveni challenger accuses party EC of trying to lock him out

John Ssimbwa, the former Makindye East Member of Parliament

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  John Ssimbwa, the former Makindye East Member of Parliament has accused the National Resistance Movement-Party Electoral Commission of trying to frustrate his efforts to challenge President Yoweri Museveni for the position of party chairman.

Ssimbwa, who notes that President Museveni has no time for the party and hence the need to replace him, says he has tried to get the EC to provide him with the regulations that will govern this year’s elections but in vain. He says although Dr Tanga Odoi, the party’s Electoral Commission Chairman had indicated that all leadership positions are up for grabs, the reality seems different. 

“If by tomorrow they have not given me the regulations, I will have no option but to go in court and stop this exercise. Our constitution clearly states the requirements for contesting for any position in the party,” Ssimbwa told journalists at the party EC headquarters in Kampala. He adds that according to the party regulations, the Electoral Commission shall give guidelines on how the vote will be conducted. 

Ssimbwa notes that further that the statutory instruments which parliament passed authorizing party Executive Committees to take decisions that ordinarily are a preserve of the Delegates’ Conference, do not in any way stop these parties from having free and fair elections. But Dr Tanga Odoi denied that the commission he leads is trying to frustrate Ssimbwa from challenging Museveni.  

“Nobody will fail here; the next level is where someone will fail but not here. For me, I’m very transparent,” Odoi said. “We don’t have a side; here at the Electoral Commission; we are neutral, I have no problem with Hon. Ssimbwa… I’m very straight forward.” 

According to the NRM constitution, anyone interested in being a member of the Central Executive Committee; the supreme body of the party has to be vetted by the same CEC whose chairman is President Museveni, after picking nomination papers. If CEC is satisfied with one’s candidature, it’s then that the Electoral Commission nominates them for the delegates to decide. 

However this time around, it’s only the National Executive Committee of the party that is going to vote because of the difficult in convening a delegates’ conference due to COVID-19 regulations. NEC and CEC are to sit between August 6-8 to decide those who will take this highly regarded position.  

According to information available at the party Electoral Commission as of today, only President Museveni had expressed interest in being the presidential flagbearer. For the position of chairman, his only challenger is Ssimbwa. For the position of First National Vice Chairperson, the incumbent, Hajji Moses Kigongo will have to stave off competition from former Kampala Central MP Capt. Edward Francis Babu.

For the second National Vice Chairperson position, the incumbent Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga so far has no challenger. For the position of  Vice-Chairperson Northern, the incumbent Sam Engola will have to defeat the deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oualanyah and another  Dr Odongo Samuel Oledo. For Vice-Chairperson Karamoja Simon Peter Aleper, the incumbent is facing a challenge from Lokoru Jimmy Tebanyag. 

The position of vice-chairperson Central has so far attracted the highest contestants. Hajji Abdul Nadduli will have to defeat Tourism State Minister Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi, Kayunga NRM chairman, Moses Karangwa and Kyabangi Abdul Semu, the Gomba district chairman. Others are Mayengo Moses and Kiganda Twaha Ssonko. 

For the position of vice-chairman Kampala, Amooti Nyakana Godfrey, the incumbent will tussle it out with former Lubaga North MP Katongole Singh, Kampala businessman Salim Uhuru and a one Walusimbi Jackson. For the vice-chairperson Eastern region, the incumbent Capt. George Mike Mukula will have to defeat former Tororo municipality MP Sanjay Tanna and Ekongot John Roberts to retain the position. 

In Western Uganda, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza’s competition comes from Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of State for housing, former MP’s Kintu Florence Tumwine, Boaz Kafuda and Shaban Bantariza, the deputy director of Uganda Media Centre and another Dr Deen Emmanuel Kisembo.

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