President Yoweri Museveni has said a sick Member of Parliament (MP) from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party is better than an active opposition MP.
Mr Museveni made the remarks while canvassing for votes for Nathan Igeme Nabeta, the NRM party flag bearer in the Jinja East Constituency by-election slated for tomorrow (Thursday).
“Even if the NRM MP was sick and sleeping, he is still better than a very active Opposition MP,” Mr Museveni told a rally at Masese/Walukuba Division in Jinja Municipality.
President Museveni added: “When an NRM MP is sleeping and it is time for passing a resolution in Parliament, he wakes up and votes for NRM. He can be weak at other issues but when he/she votes government policies, he is putting a brick of peace on our country.”
“We need enough MPs to support government programs and that’s why you must elect Nabeta not Paul Mwiru (FDC’s flag bearer),” he said.
Mr Museveni blamed voters for always letting themselves down during elections by electing wrong/weak candidates.
“You’re the ones who elected Mwiru last time. Now, Mwiru just sat in Kampala and got his salary for five years. I want you to know that elections are not a joke or about looking for small hand-outs of money. Therefore, give me an MP who will remind me to follow up on what we have agreed upon,” he said.
Adding: “I have never seen Mwiru in any meeting and I am the one in charge of money. If your delegate someone who never meets me, how will I know what you are suffering from?”
Mr Museveni promised to revitalize the Youth Livelihood Fund which he said had been stolen before it reaches its beneficiaries.
“This money is always released but gets stolen along the way, we want to revitalize it,” he said.
On roads, the President said government is now working on the road from Musita through Namayingo to Busia and will embark on other roads such as Budondo-Kaitabawala, Kamuli to Bukungu and Iganga through Luuka to Kamuli.
Earlier, while calling upon voters to vote for Nabeta, NRM Vice Chairperson for eastern region, Mike Mukula, said President Museveni is not a politician but a fighter and revolutionary leader.
Jinja West MP Moses Balyeku told the President that all the people at the rally were Jinja east voters unlike other candidates who are ferrying voters from Butagaya and other places for the case of having numbers.
“The Opposition is always abusing us while others are blaming us for tampering with Article 102(b) of the Constitution. What would they have done if they were in our shoes? We had no choice,” he said.
NRM secretary general, Mr Justine Kasule Lumumba, paraded over 20 people believed to have defected from FDC.
However, the biggest moment of applause came when President Museveni called out, “someone from Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) to greet you,” and Robert Kanusu, the former political aide to former UPC President Olara Otunnu, showed up.
Mr Kanusu, while sharing the podium with President Museveni, pledged his allegiance to the NRM party and to the government of President Museveni.
Mr Nabeta thanked President Museveni for gracing his final campaign rally and assured his voters of victory come tomorrow.
"With President Museveni as the bus driver and me as the conductor, I am going to take Jinja east to the next level," he said.
The Jinja East seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal in Kampala nullified Nabeta’s February 2016 victory on grounds that he connived with the Electoral Commission (EC) to alter results at Danida A-D polling station which put him at an advantage.
Polling is slated for tomorrow (Thursday) across 47 polling stations.
Eight candidates are vying for the seat including; Paul Mwiru (FDC), Nathan Igeme Nabeta (NRM) and Faisal Mayemba, Eng Francis Wakabi, Ms Christine Monica Abuze, Richard Henry Nyanzi, Paul Mugaya and Isabirye Hatim Mugendi – all Independents.