For a third day in slightly over a week, the NRM Parliamentary Caucus again convened at State House Entebbe yesterday to discuss what officially was touted as the party’s roadmap to 2016 in preparation for the general elections.
Caucus vice chair David Bahati stressed that the Prime Minister and ruling party secretary general, Mr Amama Mbabazi, would not feature anywhere on the agenda. The premier continues to be in the eye of a storm following last month’s ‘Kyankwanzi resolution’ controversially backing the President as the sole NRM candidate.
He added that the legislators agreed while in Kyankwanzi that they would hold a special meeting to discuss the general focus of the party and also chart a way forward for cohesion and enhancing harmony.
The ruling party caucus is not listed among the formal organs of the NRM, but MPs automatically qualify to be members of the National Delegates Conference, in which they form the largest single block, and where broad policy decisions are formally adopted.
The last two caucuses that preceded the February Kyankwanzi meet were stormy with MPs attacking Mr Mbabazi over what they referred to as misuse of party structures to promote himself with a view to being chosen the party’s flag bearer come the 2016 elections.
However, Mr Mbabazi has strongly denied this accusation, signed onto the Kyankwanzi resolution and last week said he would not run against President Museveni.
Mixed signals, meanwhile, continue to come from the party chairman. At one point, he has seemed to be giving tacit approval to the attacks against Mr Mbabazi but then at the weekend he issued a statement effectively contradicting an announced caucus position which had suggested that a fresh decision had been taken to reduce the secretary general’s authority.
Today, the NRM’s highest decision-making body, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) will also convene, Mr Mbabazi announced during his weekly press briefing yesterday. He said CEC meet to choose both MPs to sit at the ruling party’s representative on the Parliamentary Commission and committee leaders.
The commission is charged with the administration of Parliament and welfare of the lawmakers and parliamentary staff. So far, 23 MPs have expressed interest to serve on the commission. Unlike in the past where the caucus directly elected the commissioners and forwarded the list to the House for approval, new party rules granted CEC control over the approval process.