NRM lays claim to 11 million voters

President Museveni unveils the NRM 2026 election roadmap at the party secretariat in Kampala on February 28, 2024. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

What you need to know:

  • The party says the number has been trimmed from 17 million members after an audit.

President Museveni has welcomed the clean-up of the ruling party’s membership database, which unearthed millions of ghosts haunting its voter register but still laid claim to 11 million members.

 Mr Museveni, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson, was speaking during the partial unveiling of the party’s roadmap at its secretariat in Kampala ahead of the 2026 General Election yesterday.

 NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong had revealed that for long the data wrongly showed that NRM had 17 million members, but an internal audit established that they are closer to 11.4 million members.
 A little curious, the President asked what was wrong with 17 million, to which Mr Kenneth Kelvin Otto, one of those who carried out the audit, said a lot of duplication was discovered, while the names of suspected non-members were also found.

 “From the duplication, there were members who were put without full details. Someone is just having one name, no NIN and we could not verify who they are. So those ones were removed. So, if you have someone called just Kenneth in the village without verification, you cannot count him as a member,” Mr Otto said.
 He told the President that of the 11.4 million who were authenticated, 5.8 million were women, and 5.3 men.

 All these individuals reportedly had their full names listed, identification card numbers, date of birth and phone numbers, details which seemed to have impressed the President.
 In the run-up to 2026 General Election, the NRM yesterday announced plans to display its voters’ register across 72,000 villages countrywide between March 13 and 17, according to the party elections’ chief, Dr Tanga Odoi.
 Other activities will then follow, including the nomination of candidates for party structure polls at the village level from March 19 to 24; campaigns from March 25 to 26, and on March 27, the party will hold elections.

 “…so that by Easter time (April) we have done the most important election at the village and thereafter, we shall progress to colleges,” Dr Odoi said.
 Mr Museveni asked where all this leaves people interested in crossing to the NRM.
 “What if Bobi Wine (leader of the National Unity Platform party) comes and says, now today [he wants to become a member]?” he asked, drawing much laughter.

 Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, ran against Mr Museveni in the chaotic 2021 presidential poll, returning 35 percent (3.6 million) of the vote against the President’s 58 percent (six million) results declared by the Electoral Commission.
 Mr Museveni said he would welcome to NRM individuals who are already friendly with the party  such as Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao (from the Democratic Party), Mr Jimmy Akena of the Uganda Peoples Congress and his wife, Gender Minister Betty Amongi.

 “If they want to come, I can come as a witness and say, ah...I know that their attitude is positive,” he said, while warning that last-minute conversions are not wise.  “What is wise is to allow only those the villages can confirm have had a positive attitude for some time... I think that should be made very clear in the guidelines because I hear that there are plans by the Opposition to swamp, invade and then distort our primaries. Be careful, we are not in a rush,” the President added.

Party roadmap
•  March 13 to 17:  Display of register in 72,000 villages.
•   March 19 to 24: Nomination of candidates for village positions.
•   March 25 to 26: Campaigns in every village.
•    March 27: Polling day at village level.
•  April 5: Compiling of voters register and polling at parish level
•  April 12: Compiling of voters register and polling at sub-county or town Council.
•  April 16: Compiling voters register and polling at municipal or city division level
•   April 19: Compiling voters register and polling at district and city level
•  April 20 to April 30: Collecting and compiling results.
•  May 3: Submission of newly-elected leaders to Secretary General.