Police have vowed to arrest more suspected NRM youth soliciting for signatures to hold a delegates’ conference without approval from the party structures.
The police action comes days after they arrested three youth who were soliciting signatures from NRM members pushing to hold a delegates’ conference with a proposal to push Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to stand as the NRM flag bearer come 2016. But Mr Mbabazi yesterday told a press conference in Kampala that he would not be a candidate in the election where President Museveni would be running.
“I will not stand against President Museveni. This is something I have said before and I am repeating now for the last time — I will not stand against the President. There are individuals who think I should stand in 2016, which is alright because that is democracy, but I ultimately decide what I will do and not those individuals,” Mr Mbabazi told a press conference in Kampala.
At a separate press conference, Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi said police, whose action of arresting a section of NRM youth at the weekend was interpreted as an operation against Mr Mbabazi’s supporters, vowed to stop any group claiming to be members of the NRM party collecting or carrying out any activity without the blessing of the party.
“Police was never informed either by the party or by any of its officials that they will carry out any activity. We shall not allow these acts. In fact, we are looking for more youth who are engaged in the soliciting of these signatures,” Mr Kaweesi said yesterday.
Mr Adam Luzindana (NRM youth chairperson Kampala), Mr William Seriyinda (chairperson Central) and Mr Omodo-Omodo (chairperson northern Uganda) were arrested on allegations that they were illegally soliciting signatures from youth to meet President Museveni.
Police Flying Squad that deals with hardcore criminals and opposition leaders carried out the arrests.
The youth were later released and recorded statements with detectives at Central Police Station, Kampala. They denied working for Mr Mbabazi but they said they are demanding that there is internal democracy in the NRM party which allows anyone legible as per their constitution to stand for any elective post.
A member of Parliament, who declined to be named for fear that he will be punished by his party , said the three youths were carrying out their official party roles but because they are loyal to the Prime Minister, they are thought to be pushing his agenda.
“They (police) know they are loyal to the premier and they look at every activity as part of the activities in favour of him. But why should the police engage in an internal party matter?” the MP wondered. However, Mr Mbabazi, yesterday denied knowledge of the arrests saying, “I am not aware about that”.
Referring to himself as a discipline cadre of the movement, Mr Mbabazi said the ruling party has structures and organs that deal with leadership-related questions, something he is not about to undermine but work within as it enforces its responsibilities.
“I do what I am deployed to do by my party. And this has been the case for the last 40 years,” Mr Mbabazi said.
Last month, members of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus in a 10-day retreat, endorsed President Museveni to run as the NRM flag bearer in 2016.
Days letter, a section of the NRM youth league held a press conference and castigated the NRM caucus for endorsing a candidate outside the party structures, but said they had nominated Mr Mbabazi to run in the delegates conference – the proper structure.