NRM leaders clash over Museveni’s 2026 project

NRM national coordinator Hadijah Namyalo (centre) during the relaunch of  the Office of the National Chairman on October 19, 2022. It endorsed President Museveni as their candidate for the 2026 presidential elections.  PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The party secretariat  insists its not yet time for campaigns but the youth group say their focus is to promote the Movement’s ideologies. 

The top leadership of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) is struggling to stop early campaigns and keep the ruling party intact after President Museveni supporters known as “Bazzukulu” rejected any attempts to stop their activities.
On Thursday, the NRM secretary general Richard Todwong summoned the group pushing Mr Museveni’s seventh elective term in office at the party headquarters in Kampala (Plot 10, Kyadondo road), and reminded them that “it’s not yet time for campaigns for any position”.  

In the meeting, the team led by Ms Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye, a senior presidential adviser /personal assistant to the NRM national chairperson and head of Office of the National Chairman (ONC)and the head of “Bazzukulu Ba Museveni”, defended her campaign slogan “Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main” and spelt out the functions of NRM chairperson under Article 14 (1) of the NRM constitution.  

She cited section14 (b) which mandates the ruling party chairman to “do any other thing necessary for the good of NRM and for the implementation of the principles of NRM” and reiterated that “the main function of ONC- together with the national secretariat, etc., is to provide an institutional and organisational framework to enable the national chairperson to discharge his mandate.”        
According to sources, Ms Namyalo also talked of some compatriots within the NRM party whom she said “are busy diverting the attention of the Movement and the country from the tasks and priorities of the national transformation  agenda- including the implementation of the Parish Development Model”. 
She reminded the meeting about the ideological focus of the Movement and the priorities of the NRM government.

When contacted yesterday, Ms Namyalo said: “I don’t know what you people are talking about.”
“The NRM secretariat and ONC are different offices. We are working as a team and there is no clash. Those peddling lies that we are fighting are enemies of progress. The issue of having President Museveni as our 2026 candidate cannot divide us because his credentials speak for themselves. We trust him as our leader and  he is capable.”
When contacted yesterday, Mr Todwong confirmed the meeting and explained: “I guided them on a few basics and we all agreed that our efforts should be geared towards monitoring effective service delivery. It’s not yet time for campaigns for any position. That time will come and we shall as a party guide our members more.”  

Sources close to Plot 10, Kyadondo Road told this publication that Mr Todwong also summoned the people behind Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba promotional rallies and warned them against early campaigns.  The group defended itself as “volunteers” and denied engaging in early campaigns.   
Whereas this this publication could not independently verify the nitty gritty of the meeting, sources said the events of October 19 when the Namyalo-led Bazzukulu group declared Mr Museveni as their ideal 2026 presidential candidate, under the “Jjaja Omalako tova  Ku Main” campaign and Gen Muhoozi’s rallies were high on the agenda. 
this publication last week reported that the events that elicited a battle of words from Opposition political players had transpired without the consultation of the party’s  top leadership. This angered NRM leadership at Plot 10 and summoned Ms Namyalo and others behind Mr Museveni’s tacit 2026 bid.

While Gen Muhoozi has declared intentions to stand in the next general election, the new four-star general, who was recently removed from army deployment, his  supporters have been at the centre of a series of public, politically intoned events, including countrywide birthday celebrations and sports galas.
On September 18, Ms Evelyn Ayebale, the Masindi District female youth counsellor, requested President Museveni to discharge his son from UPDF, and accept the request for him to join active politics, at an event full of youths donning T-shirts bearing the picture of then Commander Land Forces.
At the Kyambogo event, the Bazzukulu advised other party members harbouring similar ambitions to “lie low like an envelope”, while some advised the Gen Kainerugaba, to “relax” until such a time when his father gets tired of contesting for presidency. 

These, sources say, was interpreted as a jibe at the Gen Kainerugaba, threatening party cohesion.  
Mr Ibrahim Kitatta, the communications officer at the ONC, dismissed allegations that the Museveni 2026 project was causing division in the party.
“It’s not the ONC perse pushing for 2026, it is a request from the youth leaders of Buganda and Bazzukulu of Jajja who made their request when they came to see their national coordinator Madam Namyalo Hadija, who is also the new head of ONC. And these Bazzukuku have their right to do so. As ONC, we continue to guide the masses to remain with the party leader. The NRM party remains solid and united behind its party leader, the national chairperson of the NRM Gen Museveni,” he said.
Mr Kitata further called for calm, addg they will remain committed to supporting president Museveni.

“The leadership of ONC urges all members of NRM, the Bazukulu and all Ugandans to calm down and concentrate on playing their role in nation building that will help all us secure our future...There are no early campaigns for 2026, there is however need to call down our Party Leader, give him assurances of support as he leads the nation through this period hence the slogan “ Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main” literally calling on our leader to continue with his efforts,” he said.
He added: “In 2026, as has been the norm, the tasks and challenges of the day will guide us all on who to lead us and that endeavour will be spearheaded by the rightful organs of the party,”

Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the director of communications at NRM secretariat, said the recent developments constitute: “continuous mobilisation as part and parcel of the implementation and supervision of the promises made in the manifesto during elections,” adding that these should not defray the leaders from the responsibility of ensuring that there is effective implementation of the manifesto for service delivery.
“The thieves should not take cover under the guise for fresh campaigns to conceal the shoddy work or their greed for money,” Mr Dombo said.