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‘NRM organs to choose flag bearer’

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President Museveni and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi at t

President Museveni (L) and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi at the NRM parliamentary caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi recently. Mr Mbabazi hailed the President as a good leader. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE 

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Posted  Thursday, February 20   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

The Prime Minister has advised NRM youth who are urging him to contest for 2016 polls to express their views under party fora

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Kampala- Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who is accused by some NRM members of harbouring presidential ambitions, yesterday said the relevant party organs will be the ones to decide their flag bearer for the 2016 elections.

Speaking to journalists at Parliament, Mr Mbabazi first laughed when reporters asked him whether he would heed the calls to take on President Museveni in the 2016 party primaries.

In response, he said that within the NRM party: “We have procedures, the constitution and regulations detailing how we handle affairs.”
Responding to the calls from NRM youth leaders who were urging him to contest, Mr Mbabazi said: “Whatever opinions they have, they should desist from expressing them publically, there are forums where such issues should be raised.”

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday at Makerere University Guest House, members of NRM’s Youth League national executive committee said what transpired in Kyankwanzi, when party MPs appeared to have been stampeded into endorsing Mr Museveni, was illegal.

On whether he has an invisible hand in the activities of the youth leaders who are backing his undeclared 2016 bid, the Prime Minister said: “All the youth of the NRM party are associated with me as their Secretary General.”

The Daily Monitor understands that Mr Mbabazi is No 202 on a list of 222 MPs who signed onto the Anite motion that endorsed Mr Museveni’s sole candidature.
However, the responsibility of choosing a flag-bear is given to the National Delegates Conference which also comprises the MPs.

The NRM caucus statement issued after Mr Mbabazi signed on the motion indicated that “the Prime Minister did not only sign to second the motion, but also spoke passionately in support”.

Mr Mbabazi was quoted as having said: “I have worked with President Museveni for a long time, he knows me very well and I also know him. He was a good leader in the liberation war, and he is also a very good leader in peace and stability, and it is very rare to have such a leader.”

He added: “And as I have always said and I wish to repeat; Africa’s problem is leadership. When, therefore, in Africa, you have a good leader, you don’t let go easily.”

MBABAZI DENIES BEING PRESSED TO SIGN MOTION

Asked whether he was pressed by pro-Museveni camp, Club 999, to sign the Kyankwanzi motion moved by Ms Evelyn Anite, Mr Mbabazi said he sticks to the party rules, adding that before he appended his signature to the motion, he stood up and made a speech on the matter.

When pressed to give details, the Prime Minister asked the journalists to refer to his Kyankwanzi speech.
Sources who attended the Kyankwanzi retreat quoted the PM as having said: There are many forces outside who would want to see division in NRM. They have realised that NRM is solid and not easy to defeat and have for a while resolved to disorganise it from within.”

“Members should, therefore, take caution. I support the motion and it will be forwarded to the appropriate party organs to choose a presidential flag-bearer,” he added.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com