NRM youth leaders clash over Museveni 2026 bid

Youth from northern region endorse President Museveni for 2026 in Lira City on November 8, 2022. PHOTO/BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

  • One of the groups condemned the “hard-heartedness” of NRM leaders who don’t regard other players in the ruling party.

A decision by a section of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) youth leaders to endorse President Museveni as their candidate in the 2026 presidential elections has sparked off disagreements in northern region with some members asking him to take a break when his current five-year term ends.
On Tuesday, a group of about 700 NRM youth assembled in Lira City and declared their support for Mr Museveni.

The group allied to the Office of the NRM National chairman and the Bazzulu Ba Museveni coordinator, Ms Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye,  said Mr Museveni is still able to lead the country.
Led by Mr George Abudul, the NRM youth chairperson of Lira District, also the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Apac, read out President Museveni’s achievements.
They commended their leader for promoting peace, professionalising the army, championing youth-led interventions, discovering oil and pushing for the East African Community regional integration.

The youth leaders signed a joint petition addressed to Ms Namyalo in which  they described Mr Museveni as their candidate for 2026 and called upon all other partY organs to support “Jajja Omalako Tova Ku Main” slogan.
“Our position is clear and we are asking our colleagues with divergent views to reconsider their stand on the matter,” Mr Abdul said.
“The President is not tired and has performed to the expectation of unbiased Ugandans. We have peace, the economy has challenges but is stable and strong. He has built the state foundation. Poverty, unemployment, corruption and other outstanding issues are being addressed,” he added.

Mr Achile Twaibu, the NRM regional vice for northern region, Mr Sebastian Oguti Oswin (the deputy dean of RDCs), and Mr Nicholas Nuwagira, the NRM regional vice for youth of western region, who is also the Buhweju RDC, attended the endorsement ceremony.
However, some youth leaders accused their colleagues of greed and threatened to join the National Unity Platform (NUP) party headed by former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
The group also condemned what they called “hard-heartedness” of NRM leaders pushing for Museveni’s 2026 bid without regard for the “young blood” and other players in the ruling party.

President Museveni 

The dissenting youth leaders, who preferred anonymity, demanded a free and fair contest for the party flag and freedom to choose their leaders without pressure. 
They also asked party leaders to focus on the economy, unemployment, land evictions and the implementation of  2021-2026 NRM manifesto.
Mr Patrick Rolex Akena Ogwal, the former Oyam LC5 councillor, advised the President to take a break from elective politics.
“Those people claiming to be young, some of them are 45 years old. So, they are masquerading looking for something that may be from the President. This group is unappreciative and they cannot recognise whatever the President has done for this country…that is why they cannot allow him to rest,” Mr Akena said.

“If President Museveni is to be called by God, who is going to lead them since they think it’s only Mr Museveni who can lead them?” he wondered.
Mr Felix Adupa Ongwech, the president of Transformers Cadre Association Uganda , said the youth should stop politicking but engage in productive activities.
“It is raining and as such, they should be going back to their farms to dig, not going to small hotels and they start shouting then go back home hungry,” he said.
Mr Adupa added: “There is a wide range of issues that young Ugandans should be looking at rather than politicking. Why the rush? We are waiting for the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to give us their view on such matters becMr Museveni as a sole candidate for 2026, and even the NRM electoral commission has not yet said anything.”

When contacted yesterday, Ms Namyalo erided anti-Museveni sentiments within the ruling NRM party as “narrow-minded” and advised them to focus on the bigger picture. 
She described the emerging divisions within her Bazzulu Ba Museveni camp as “imaginary” and talked of infiltration from other Opposition groups.
“We don’t have disagreements in our camp, the people asking the President to take a break are confused. They don’t even know that the ultimate goal of any serious political party is to remain in power,” Ms Namyalo said.

‘Our choice’
“As NRM, our champion is President Museveni and people endorse him because of his matchless leadership credentials …. People who are telling lies that we are divided are just scared of President Museveni. We also have information that some greedy people could be working with Opposition elements to divert our attention but they are wasting time,” she added.
Ms Namyalo also said she would look into the dissenting claims.
“ But I don’t think we have any problem in northern Uganda. We have internal democracy and people are free to disagree as long as the minority respects the majority decision. The youth from Acholi, Lango and Karamoja sub-regions have spoken in unison and their position on the matter is clear, they want President Museveni to be their candidate in 2026,” she said.

The NRM secretary general, Mr Richard Todwong,  has since advised those involved in early campaigns to focus on improving service delivery.
The push for President Museveni’s seventh elective term has since sparked a rumbling battle of words between party leaders and Opposition politicians who accuse the architects of “Jajja Omalako Tova Ku Main” mantra of diverting Ugandans from important issues in the country.