NAMBOOLE- The ruling party’s National Delegates Conference, protected by layers of security, on Sunday endorsed president Museveni as its official flag bearer in the next year’s presidential elections.
The endorsement witnessed by Opposition representatives (FDC, UPC, DP and Jeema) means President Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, has passed the first huddle in his quest for a fifth elective term in office.
The party’s Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr Tanga Odoi said, it was only Mr Museveni who fulfilled the requirements for nomination as a presidential aspirant for NRM party. He said there were others who tried but did not meet the requirements, leaving Mr Museveni unopposed.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the chairperson of the NRM Manifesto team seconded Mr Museveni’s candidature before Dr Tanga presented him to the National Delegates Conference for endorsement.
When Dr Tanga put president Museveni’s candidature to a voice vote, the Stadium erupted into euphoria as elated delegates, ferried from the 126 NRM districts across the county, clad in yellow, the official colour of the NRM, party chanted Tajja-genda Tajja-genda —meaning Museveni is going nowhere.
In his a short acceptance speech, president Museveni, thanked the 30,000 NRM delegates for showing confidence in him to be the presidential flag bearer and also for renewing his mandate as the chairperson of the ruling party. By press time, Mr Museveni was expected to give a detailed speech, outlining his agenda for the next five years.
Mr Museveni however, said, the day he was endorsed by the National Delegates Conference coincides with [October 1st 1978], the day he went to the late Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere’s office to plan the expulsion of Iddi Amin.
The NRM leader promised to use the party flag to push Uganda forward as he had done in the past.
On the position of National Chairman, the conference again endorsed Mr Museveni and Hajji Moses Kigongo was also confirmed the first National Vice Chairperson. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was also confirmed the second National Vice Chairperson (Female) after Dr Tanga declared the duo unopposed.
“I promise I will not let you down, I thank you all” Hajji Kigongo said in his acceptance speech. Ms Kadaga promised to push for pro-people policies.
Capt Mike Mukula presented Hajji Kigongo’s candidature, seconded by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah, who once again described Mr Museveni’s a hero.
Maj Gen (rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza and Mr Mukula were also confirmed as Vice Chairpersons Western and Eastern regions respectively. All the five contestants for the post of NRM Vice Chairperson Eastern Region publically stepped down for Mr Mukula after President met them at State House Entebbe on Sunday.
“Senior leaders who take sides among the juniors have caused problems. Let the people chose the person they like… it’s not you to choose, it’s the people electing. They are all good as long as they are yellow,” Mr Museveni said.
After castigating party leaders who divide members, Mr Museveni said, Eastern wing had issues. He said, Simon Mulongo is a fire eater, Saleh Kamba uprooted a lady called Kampiire, whom he said had given NRM problems. Mr Michael Werikhe and Mike Mukula are powerful NRM cadres and Moses Balyeku a very good young cadre.
At a State House meeting, Mr Museveni reportedly convinced the contestants to step down for Mukula for fear that their candidature might divide the party. Mr Museveni said, none of the candidates were given money but they all agreed to support Mukula.