Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Resistance Movement party [NRM] has said starting this Tuesday, it will begin holding talks with its members who were defeated in party primaries but opted to be nominated as independent parliamentary candidates.
Speaking to news reporters at the party’s secretariat plot 10, Kyadondo road in Kampala today, Justine Kasule Lumumba, the Secretary General said that they acknowledge that the primaries weren’t perfect and that members could have legitimate reasons to contest as independents.
Lumumba said therefore, before they activate disciplinary proceedings that might lead to some members being expelled for standing against party flag bearers, they need to listen to their grievances and see whether they hold any water.
According to indications from preliminary returns with the Electoral Commission, there are more independents than party candidates who were nominated during the week’s two-day nomination exercise of parliamentary candidates. Many of such candidates actually participated in their parties’ primary elections and lost. EC spokesman Paul Bukenya says the independents definitely outnumber the party candidates but he could not commit to figures advising that we wait for the official figures early this week.
Some independents claim that the processes leading to their defeat was unfair and therefore not a true representation of the verdict of the people. In some parts of the country like in Bukanga North and Mawogola North, Kasule explained that the party resolved not to have a flag bearer for failure to resolve primary election disputes.
In Mawogola where Foreign Affairs minister’s daughter Shartis Musherure Kutesa and President Yoweri Museveni’s brother Sodo Aine Kaguta tussled it out, the party allowed both candidates to stand as independents because they couldn’t hold residual elections in villages where results had been disputed.
Kasule said the Central Executive Committee of the party had to sit to decide the way forward on the matter after the Election Appeals Tribunal quashed the victory of Sodo because of several irregularities raised by his competitor.
Meanwhile, Lumumba also unveiled the official portrait of the NRM’s presidential candidate; Yoweri Museveni that is going to be used for the 2021 elections.
Lumumba waved a certificate that the Electoral Commission had given to them to show that their flag bearer had presented the required 9800 signatures for nomination.
She said they are now ready to defeat any candidate who might want to challenge their flag bearer. On whether Museveni will attend presidential debates with his competitors, Lumumba said, he would, if the organizers dialogue with them. She said they need to first agree on several ground rules before they could allow Museveni to be part of the debates.
In the 2016 presidential elections, Museveni attended only one of the two debates citing failure to agree on the rules with the Elders Forum, the body that spearheaded the debates.
The Electoral Commission will be holding presidential nominations next month on November 2-3.