The race for positions on the NRM’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) heats up every day with younger cadres vowing to upset senior comrades who have monopolized positions since the formation of the ruling party.
The latest is Housing State Minister also Kinkizi East legislator, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi who has attacked the incumbent NRM vice-chairman (Western), Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyalingonza for clinging on to representing the Western region on the all-powerful CEC, oblivious to the fact that it is time for the young generation to take over the party’s leadership. The two – as well as deputy government spokesperson, retired Colonel Shaban Bantariza are vying to represent the region on CEC.
The Western region is comprised of Kigezi, Ankole, Rwenzori – Toro and Bunyoro sub-regions. West Nile sub is grouped with Acholi and Lango sub-regions to form the Northern region in the party structures.
According to Dr. Baryomunsi, Kyaligonza’s only claim to fame is slapping a traffic policewoman on duty in 2019.
“People just remember him for slapping a traffic policewoman. It is his only achievement in the last so many years,” said Dr. Baryomunsi.
General Kyaligonza, who serves as Uganda’s envoy to Bujumbura caused a public uproar when he slapped – and his army guards manhandled Esther Namaganda a traffic policewoman who tried to stop his car over reckless driving at Seeta in Mukono Municipality. He would later snub summons to appear before Mukono Chief Magistrate’s Court.
“But I am sure the voters know. They are going to assess him and the others and then compare because we have been in public office for some time, our track records are known and therefore people should be able to assess and see who can occupy that position to further the NRM agenda and also work for it,” Dr. Baryomunsi added.
The legislator argues that the NRM party needs young leaders to drive it forward.
“We need strong energetic leaders at all levels including CEC so that we can move on with the party. We appreciate the founders of the party and those who have brought us this far but also for the party to continue and to remain strong and vibrant for the next 20, 30 years to come, it should embrace its children; sons and daughters to occupy these positions so that we can use the energy which we have to do mobilization for the party and also build structures and make the party functional all the time,” he said.
The party’s most top positions are held by veteran politicians, all who are vying to keep in power for the next five years.
Dr. Baryomunsi argues that sitting on the ruling party’s top organ comes with responsibilities – which many current leaders are not living up to.
“The issues, the ideas, the interests of the population are captured and discussed at that top level. The discussions in CEC should inform the kind of policies that the ruling party takes to cabinet, to Parliament, and the other structures. I, therefore, expect that we should have these ideas discussed (by able leaders),” Baryomunsi said.
The medic turned politician also wants reforms in the leadership of the Party to counter rising opposition led by younger Ugandans.
“We have party structures ranging from the center to the grassroots level. We need to put our brains together to see how these party structures function all the time and not leave them active and functional (only) when we have elections. We want to build a model where these structures are facilitated and are enabled to function all through,” he argued.
He envisions the party’s leadership structures at district and lower levels facilitated and working all year round.