Museveni dims FDC’s Eala hopes

President Museveni. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The President also instructed the NRM lawmakers to “vote independents who are NRM leaning.”

The endorsement of candidates of the UPC, DP, and Jeema parties in the forthcoming East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) elections by President Museveni on Friday pushed further away the hopes of the FDC to make a comeback.

Mr Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary general, who is also her flag bearer in the race, had expressed optimism on Thursday about getting the crucial support of NRM MPs. Developments at the NRM Parliamentary Caucus meeting chaired by President Museveni at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds on Friday, however, have his hopes in a delicate balance.

After consolidating an earlier decision by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to maintain the incumbent NRM MPs, Mr Museveni did not mince his words.

“Of the remaining three [slots], two will belong to political parties, and responsible political parties which are not disruptive. The UPC are quite a good party, the DP and the Jeema are working well with the NRM in IPOD,” Mr Museveni said.

He added: “We need two but we have three and we cannot resolve that here, so you go and sort it out in the Parliament. But FDC is hostile, the other group of Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine-led NUP), hostile. That leaves you with three [parties] from which to choose the two.”

Eala elections
The President also instructed the NRM lawmakers to “vote independents who are NRM leaning.”

Each EAC member state is allotted nine elective positions at the Arusha-based Eala. In Uganda, six are ring-fenced for the ruling NRM; one goes to independents while the rest of the Opposition parties are left to battle for two.

Elections for the representatives to the fifth assembly will take place on September 29, after nominations on September 19 and 20. Candidates who want to join Eala in Uganda must have the blessing of the NRM party, which has the majority in the Ugandan Parliament. 

Mr Kaija was still hopeful on Friday, saying Mr Museveni “talked about three parties as friendly, but did not direct [NRM MPs] to vote for them.”

In August, the FDC Spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, accused the NRM of frustrating the party’s efforts to join Eala by conniving with other parties and frustrating a levelled ground in the race. 

The leading Opposition party, NUP, has opted against taking part in the electioneering on account of “meddling” by NRM. Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, described Friday’s NRM caucus as “an extension of the patronage system.”

Before the public endorsement, Mr Gerald Siranda, the DP flag bearer, told Sunday Monitor that the two parties had resolved to work together courtesy of a cooperation agreement.