Days after the ruling National Resistance Movement’s parliamentary caucus resolved to front President Museveni as the sole candidate in the 2016 polls, senior officials of the party’s youth league have re-opened the matter, nominating Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi for the same position.
Addressing a news conference yesterday at Makerere University Guesthouse, the NRM Youth League, through its national executive committee, revealed yesterday that what transpired in Kyankwanzi, when party MPs appeared to have been stampeded into endorsing Mr Museveni, was illegal.
They said the Kyankwanzi declaration was a violation of what the NRM constitution stipulates on how a candidate is chosen. “We want to take this opportunity as NRM youth league executive committee on behalf of the NRM youth league structures from village to national level to reject the Kyankwanzi illegal resolution and ask all NRM youth and all NRM party cadres to condemn the Kyankwanzi position,” reads a statement signed by Mr Omodo Omodo, the chairperson youth league, Northern Region, on behalf of the youth league.
Mr Omodo said the resolution was wrongly adopted because the parliamentary caucus has no mandate under the party constitution to approve such a sensitive issue.
The youth say the action was, therefore, tantamount to favouritism or nepotism by giving preferential treatment to any personal advantage contrary to the provisions of section 4 (1k) of the NRM constitution.
The NRM is fighting to maintain a public show of unity amidst reports that a political alliance between the President and his Prime Minister spanning decades is coming to an end and, with it, a looming split in the party.
A senior member of NRM’s top decision-making organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), last evening described the youth league’s position as “interesting”.
Mr Francis Babu, who represents Kampala region in the party, told the Daily Monitor that the contest between the Kyankwanzi group and the Youth League is healthy for the party.
He, however, said there is no clashing between the two groups and urged others interested to compete for any other post, including that of the party chairperson, to show their interest.
“Every individual is free to nominate whoever he or she wants to contest and this is an interesting contest. The people in Kyankwanzi had their reason and those who were blocked have their reason. Since they said in Kyankwanzi that there are people plotting quietly but are now coming out, let us wait and see,” Mr Babu said.
The youth yesterday said they want an explanation from what they called the perpetrators, sponsors, movers and seconders of the Museveni-sole-candidate motion and all those who endorsed it.
“And above all, we hold our party chairperson (Mr Museveni) accountable and responsible for presiding over such an illegal proceeding where the NRM constitution was violated. The proposal was not debated at all by the members of NRM caucus yet they had enough time to do so,” the statement further reads.
It continued “We need an explanation why it was just passed without debate.
This is really against out party constitution and how on earth can such resolution be adopted without debate and what was the agenda?”
Violated code of conduct
The youth said the parliamentary caucus is a legislative group of the party and it is only allowed to debate on issues that will be tabled on the floor of Parliament.
Similarly, the statement read out to national media in Kampala noted that the MPs sitting in Kyankwanzi violated rule 6 (A2) of the NRM code of conduct which commits all party members and leaders at all levels to use persuasion rather than command language.
The caucus resolution was a command imposed on the majority members of the party, they observed. “The act by the NRM caucus in Kyankwanzi which was supported by our party chairman is a clear indication of the existence of cliques in our party and we now believe that our MPs and some party leaders violated the NRM constitution section 4 (1a) which prohibits members engaging in the formation of cliques, factions or … in any intrigue within NRM”
The youth argued that because caucus has played a central role under the watch of the party chairperson to disunite NRM, it is within their constitutional mandate as the youth league to fight clique formation, intrigue and propaganda detrimental to the interests of the party.
The youth promised to use “peaceful means to isolate and work against powerful individuals who promote selfish interest and not adhering to the principle that the interests of NRM stand above everything.”
Last evening, Deputy Party spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said the youth are free to do what they want, noting that the caucus, whose members outnumber the youth league in the party’s National Executive Council and National Conference, was within its rights to resolve.
“The chairperson is not nominated by the youth league and she or he is not elected by the youth league,” Mr Opondo said.
He added: “However, that could confirm the cliques we talked about at Kyankwanzi; that there are people who have been working behind the normal structures for selfish interests and it is good they are coming out.”