NRM primaries: The way I saw it in Buhweju

Wednesday September 09 2020

By Patrick Katagata

“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one finds that there are many more hills to climb,” were some of the immortal words inscribed in Nelson Mandela’s tale, The Long Walk To Freedom. Having unsuccessfully participated in the NRM primaries for Buhweju County flag-bearer, my sentiments are in consonant with Mandela’s. I reminisce that after 2015 NRM primaries that were marred by violence, I wrote an article, ‘NRM skirmishes regrettable, but have good lessons.’
I, however, note with deep concern that to this day, a lot more remains desired. Few lessons, if any, seem to have been learnt. This time round, in addition to total violation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), voter intimidation, violence, broad daylight voter bribery, etc, took centre stage, which begs the question: When and how will society elect leaders not on the basis of their financial muscle, but on their ability to steer socio-economic and political transformation?
I insist that irregularities in the NRM primaries does not imply that the party is lacking in ideological coherency. Instead, it reflects the myopic vendettas of some selfish individuals, who trade party values for financial tokens from “wealthy” candidates, some of whom have doubted capabilities. In some cases, they remove leaders with transformational ideas and character, dubbing them “Dogs on the other side!”
Some NRM district executives are visibly partial, arrogant, have inflated sense of entitlement, claiming that they are more NRM than others, etc. For their selfishness and lack of integrity, such cadres and elders have done much to frustrate President Museveni’s leadership and dented government’s image. They are the number one enemies of the NRM party and democracy in Uganda.
Inspired by NRM’s cherished core values of patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy, and my own passion for transformational leadership.
I offered myself as a contender in the Buhweju parliamentary bid, but the way some cadres behaved or handled electoral issues was and remains inconsistent with the party’s ideals. In a space of about two months, I grossly maligned, abused and frustrated by some party executives. However, my spirit has not been broken. I refuse neither to waver nor give up! For the good of the constituency, I will, as much as humanly possible, work with the declared winner come 2021, hurt-feelings notwithstanding –aluta continua.