Augustine Ruzindana

The shambolic state of affairs in NRM may postpone 2016 elections

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By Augustine Ruzindana

Posted  Thursday, May 1   2014 at  17:42
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When you observe the unusual occurrences, one after another, taking place in Uganda, the Swahili saying “Ya mungu ni mengi” (God works in mysterious ways) comes to mind.

The Red Pepper recently had a headline that reads, “Anti Mbabazi NRM Squad storms Lango” - just like in anti-malaria or anti-corruption campaigns. It goes on to say: “A team of NRM youths headed by Evelyn Anite…stormed Lira town… to detoxicate the toxins…sowed by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi…” This informs us that NRM has formed a squad(s) against Mbabazi, the party’s secretary general.

These squads have not been formed by the ruling party’s secretary general, usually the chief of operations in any party for the obvious reason that he cannot form squads against himself. So who has formed these squads, on whose benefit and what has Mbabazi done to have squads formed against him?

The Daily Monitor quotes a youth chairperson of Wakiso to have said that “Mbabazi denies plans to stand against Mr Museveni in public but later invites some youths at his house in the night and facilitates them to drive his bid”. Clearly, some funny things are going on in the NRM party that show the highest level of indiscipline for a party that has been in government for almost 30 years.

Otherwise how does a district youth leader dare make such comments about a national leader like the party secretary general who is also the country’s Prime Minister? There should be no surprise that there is so much indiscipline (including corruption) in the NRM government that has crept into social behaviour, if indisciplined driving on the roads is anything to go by. These sample reports in two newpapers of one day show a deplorable state of affairs in NRM.

The last few weeks have been full of reports of similar activities by various State and party cadres, including MPs who have been dispatched with an inducement fund of Shs4 million per sub-county to canvass NRM party supporters to endorse Mr Museveni, the NRM chairman, sole NRM candidate for flag bearer in the general elections.

When this party process is completed, we should expect a similar national process to declare him elected unopposed since we have been informed in the past that the membership of the NRM party was actually more than all the registered voters. This latter step would be logical because the country need not be taken through an unnecessary election when NRM supporters have pronounced themselves.

Therefore, the expected electoral reforms should cover only the parliamentary and local government elections, unless of course the NRM party supporters similarly pronounce themselves on the sole candidates for parliamentary and local government elections as well.

For LC1, there is no need for elections as they are NRM basic structures, therefore only subject to internal NRM elections. This is the import of the current NRM maneuvers if taken to their logical, even if absurd, conclusion.

Might this happen? Why not, if someone that has been continuously leading an organisation for over 40 years cannot be sure of winning an internal election in that organisation, why should he take chances competing with opposition “liars” among an unpredictable wider buyable electorate, mainly comprising of millions of “free” voters unencumbered with pre-Museveni experiences of “bad rule”?

The experiences of former presidents Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia are well known in the region to alert a sagacious eye to the worst scenario possible within NRM primaries and in the 2016 general elections. Therefore, the fight against Mbabazi’s candidature within NRM may have serious implications for the national elections; thus the murmurs for postponement of the 2016 elections may not be so farfetched.

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP