I am sorry for the NRM poll mess - Museveni

President Museveni

President Museveni has apologised to supporters of the NRM for the Monday election mess that has caused undue embarrassment to the party leadership.

Mr Museveni, who is also the chairman of the NRM, yesterday, five days after the polls begun, could not hide his disappointment in the party’s electoral commission which he singled out as being responsible for the mess.

In a recorded statement from State House Entebbe, Mr Museveni said he will personally investigate why his EC has such weakness and failed to deliver.

“Unfortunately the administrative arrangements were not good; you therefore ended up lining up for many hours and some of you couldn’t vote on that day [Monday] and the elections were postponed to tomorrow [today],” he said.

His frustration in his own party’s EC comes on the backdrop of widespread discontentment among opposition politicians with the Eng Badru Kiggundu-led National Electoral Commission.

“I am sorry about this inconvenience which was caused to you. We are studying the reasons why the party EC didn’t provide the materials in time and in enough quantities.”

Mr Museveni also said he blamed the mess on some selfish and irresponsible senior leaders in his party because they don’t think about anything else other than themselves.

“These are the ones who complicate the work of the NRM registrars. You have heard complaints of voters whose names were left out of the registers just because they didn’t support the senior leaders’ candidature previously; others have been inflated and put in more names in the registers,” he said.

He cautioned against violence in today’s polls and said senior members should stop their biases against junior party members. He said he would personally take any petitions and handle them, in cases where the party officials failed to address peoples’ complaints.

“Come to me if the NRM channels fail,” Mr Museveni said. “We have had situations where senior leaders are biased against some members yet I have told all of them previously that a senior leader shouldn’t take sides because it is the people to elect and not the leader to elect,” he said. “As chairman of NRM I am ready to work with anybody elected by NRM as long as he is a member of the NRM.”

He added: “I appeal to all of you not to be violent because there is no need for violence. If there is any problem, please complain and NRM officials will take action and if they don’t I will as a party leader.”

Since the onset of all grassroot NRM polls and the ongoing flag primaries, some districts and areas have become hot spots for violence intimidation and security has been increase there ahead of today’s polls. But Mr Museveni said he had dispatched a team of investigators to many areas including Sembabule. He warned that anyone found engaging in violence would be dealt with.

In some areas where election took place on Monday, and losers failed to accept defeat, some declaring themselves winners on local stations and others reportedly altering the results in their favour, Mr Museveni said such people would be dealt with because it is criminal to alter results.

“I have heard that some people have tried to alter the election results and all these are criminal offences and you can be arrested and imprisoned,” he said.

He has asked his party members to acknowledge and welcome converts from other parties and allow them to vote, “only if they denounced their original parties and the parish branches welcome them to the NRM party officially.”