Kigongo-Babu battle for NRM vice seat heats up

Thursday August 06 2020

President Museveni chairs the Central Executive Committee meeting early this year. The battle for the party’s second-in-command has intensified with two candidates joining the race. PHOTO | FILE

Veteran National Resistance Movement (NRM) second top leader Al-Hajj Moses Kigongo has said the party’s governance organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), needs experienced and tested people to steer the ideologies beyond the 2021 General Election.

Mr Kigongo, who is vying to retain his position as NRM’s 1st national vice chairperson, made his appeal in an August 4 letter in which he revealed a three point campaign agenda. The letter seen by Daily Monitor is addressed to all national delegates.

“Vote for well tested, clean people, with a rich track-record in the NRM ideology and with an excellent vision for Uganda, East Africa and Africa at large. I pledge my readiness to continue serving you as your 1st national vice chairperson of the NRM,” Mr Kigongo pleaded to the voters.

Mr Kigongo is being challenged by former Kampala Central Member of Parliament, Capt Francis Babu, businessman Hakeem Asiimwe Lukenge and Mr Kefa Mafumo, who is working in State House as a presidential aide in charge of the young people.

The oldest of the group, Mr Kigongo, said much as the NRM has mobilised and trained the young people to take up leadership positions, there is a need for internal leadership to be entrusted in the hands of experienced cadres.

“Overall, while it is appropriate to have new blood and new thinking in the party, it is crucial that we maintain some of the excellent brains of our party founding members who can continue to guide and nurture the young leaders and also uphold the party’s founding ideology,” his letter reads in part.


Mr Kigongo, who is seen as the most- second highly ranked to President Museveni, was left to run unopposed in 2015 when CEC by resolution reserved the 1st national vice chairperson seat for him.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, who had expressed interest in running against him in 2015 delegates’ conference, was also left to go unopposed as the 2nd national vice chairperson representing women.

However, this time, Mr Kigongo who is facing a test by Capt Babu, Mr Lukenge and Mr Mafumo, has embarked on a campaign to ensure he retains his position in the party. He has called on the delegates to “vote wisely” so that they can build the party with “quality leadership on the top”.

Premising his campaign on continuing the NRM legacy, giving a big push for the young Ugandans and, upholding the values of the party has named a parliamentary task force chaired by Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho.
Capt Babu who until 2015 was the vice chairperson for the central region said his decision to challenge Mr Kigongo was not about fighting his age or character but to take the party to greater heights.

He said as an NRM revolutionist, his campaign is about matching with the competition that is being mounted by the Opposition. “I am not pulling strings with anybody but I am here to make sure NRM becomes great again. We think we need to lift this party again. It requires a little bit of more push but they (current CEC) have also done certain great things,” Capt Babu said yesterday.

Other candidates
Unlike Capt Babu who wants to lift the party, other candidates are challenging Mr Kigongo with an aim of putting a new blood in the NRM party.

Mr Lukenge, 42, said: “my campaign is on leadership transformation within our party and it is us the young people who will bring new scenergies and ideas. We want the President, who I am sure will win the next election, to work better with young brains with new focus to match the needs of the majority of the population”.

On the other side, Mr Mafumo, 33, said having been an understudy of the veteran leaders in the NRM, he feels it is time for them to give way for the young cadres who will be a link between the President and the youth.

“There is a lot of tiredness in the party and when somebody like me takes leadership, it will help the NRM to evolve from old approaches of managing this country so that we have an approach to handle the current contemporary pressure. I also look at leading the youth in the fight against corruption,” Mr Mafuma said.

Ngora County MP David Abala who is the coordinator for the elect Kigongo taskforce in-charge of Teso Sub-region said there is need to maintain him as the vice chairperson because he helps to keep the party together while the President is busy with state duties.
The NRM party on Tuesday resolved to postpone elections for the top CEC members to August 18.