Wednesday January 13 2010

NRM challenges and its soul-searching

By Mercy Nalugo


Delegates at the NRM National Executive Council meeting in Entebbe were by press time expected to discuss the major challenges facing the party ahead of the 2011 general elections.

One major obstacle identified was infighting among top officials—which the Secretary General, Mr Amama Mbabazi, in a 25-page report said if unchecked, would likely tear the party apart.
“These squabbles only serve to undermine cohesion in the party. For the most part not one single NEC has gone by without some accusation of a kind cropping up,” Mr Mbabazi, told the delegates.

Party Chairman President Museveni, who gave a keynote address, did not mention the issue, but according to Mr Mbabazi’s report, the head of state had already commissioned a committee to investigate the matter—and the team will give a report at the conference.

Maturity call
Mr Mbabazi, who reported that former Prime Minister Kintu Musoke had offered to meditate among top officials, asked party leaders to exhibit mature politics and lead by example.
“It is also equally important that we lead by example in understanding that we are all not going to share the same views at all times, but a certain level of maturity is required to put party above self,” Mr Mbabazi said.

It is understood that there are three major camps in the NRM one headed by the Trade Minister, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, another by the Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, with the two thought to be hostile to that led by Mr Mbabazi.

Fights have also been reported among other members of the party. Mr Mbabazi said the other challenges the party faces ahead of elections are corruption, failure by leaders to fully monitor government programmes and effectiveness of NRM structures.

The President warned the country against getting excited over the discovery of oil.

He also left Ndorwa West MP David Bahati holding the can, when he, for the first time publicly, disowned the legislator’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, saying it does not represent the party or government position.

Mr Museveni, who said he wanted to clear the confusion the Bill has created both locally and internationally, indicated Uganda cannot risk its foreign policy by allowing the Bill to pass in its present form. He said cabinet will sit with Mr Bahati to handle the matter.