President Museveni has ordered that a reconciliation process be initiated across the country to heal the wounds and bring on board candidates who claim that the NRM party primaries were rigged in favour of their opponents. Many of the contestants in the primaries have since decided to stand as Independents in the 2021 General Election.
The process, which kicked off on October 25, is led by a team of 47 NRM cadres, who are also members of the party’s Central Executive Committee. It is expected that the team will organise reconciliation meetings in each district to heal the fractures that emerged in the aftermath of NRM primaries.
However, this is like putting the cart before the horse. The NRM party primaries were marred by glaring irregularities. There were reports of voter bribery, election violence and even deaths in some constituencies.
In some quarters, there is a perception that their flag bearers were imposed from “above “ through arm-twisting and blackmail.
Across the country, many losers are bitter and crying out that their votes were stolen and instead the people they defeated were declared winners. If these allegations are anything to go by, then it will be difficult to see how the reconciliation process can yield fruit before justice is not only done, but also seen to be done by the aggrieved parties.
Given that the Election Disputes Tribunal has ended its tour of duty it means complainants now have limited room for legal redress. Matters have not been helped by the fact that many of the petitions were thrown out in areas where there were glaring irregularities.
The President has previously indicated that all individuals who were involved in election illegalities would be brought to book. He has instructed members of the CEC, who are in charge of the reconciliation process, to first deliver justice to the aggrieved members of the party before embarking on the healing process. This is the right thing to do and the President must be commended for issuing the guidance .
However, this exercise was best suited for the tribunal, which has now closed shop. One wonders where the CEC will get time from, given that campaigns are scheduled to start soon as the 2021 General Election fast approaches.
It is true Independents weaken political parties. But a keen observation has shown that in many of the cases ,they emerge due to lack of a levelled play ground during the primaries, where many losers were declared winners. How then are the two or more polarised parties sit at a round table and iron out their differences?