Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Even when their members; starting with the chairman of the party who doubles as the President of the country, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni welcomed the proposal by the Electoral Commission to have digital campaigns, the party is still stuck on how to proceed with their own internal elections.
Not even four days of meeting of the Central Executive Committee, the second highest organ of the party was able to break the jinx that has become the 2021 scientific elections.
During the last meeting; like others, also held at State House Entebbe, the chairman of the party Electoral Commission, Dr. Tanga Odoi had told the members and by extension the country that they were going to meet for the last time to agree on a position on how to proceed with internal elections aimed at getting flag bearers. The meeting came on Saturday, but by the time it was adjourned towards 6PM, no position had been agreed upon.
In a statement, the spokesperson of the Secretariat, Rogers Mulindwa said their leaders were unable to reach a consensus on how to proceed. “The party membership and the entire public is hereby informed that the Central Executive Committee convened again…Discussion of the party roadmap was key on the agenda and given the importance of this item, more consultation and discussions will continue,” said Mulindwa in a short statement.
The leaders will have another meeting on July 1st to try and break the gridlock. Speaking to Uganda Radio Network – URN in a telephone interview, Mulindwa said party enthusiasts should remain calm as their leaders try to solve the puzzle.
But what’s the most contentious issue the party is grappling with? At the beginning of this year, the party proposed and passed an amendment to the party constitution that saw them do away with secret ballot in favor of lining behind candidates. However, with the new rules that bar mass gatherings, the party doesn’t know how to proceed.
Changing back to secret ballot which would allow for social distancing would require a constitutional change which can only be sanctioned by the delegates’ conference; the highest decision making body of the party. The delegates’ conference has more than 20,000 members so convening it would mean defying the rules on mass gathering the bedrock of the new Electoral Commission rules on campaigns.
The other issue that is still causing headache for the party is that although the Central Executive Committee endorsed Museveni’s sole candidature, it wasn’t rubber stamped by the delegates’ conference. If Museveni goes ahead and presents himself as the candidate of the NRM, it might not sit well with people who care about procedures. Actually he might even end up being challenged in the courts of law. According to one party official who requested anonymity to speak freely on the subject, this is not a position Museveni would desire.
That the NRM is stuck is food to the ears of the opposition. “The NRM is stuck in the mud of its own making they are saying they are going to have a delegates’ conference via zoom; I don’t know whether they are going to put zoom in Abim or in Rwenzori. So let’s be honest to each other and debate the issue of postponing this election,” said Democratic Party President Norbert Mao while speaking to Uganda Radio Network yesterday.