Behind closed State House doors at Entebbe on Friday, Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo begged President Yoweri Museveni to prevail over the three NRM party members who have expressed interest in the position of the ruling party’s first National vice-chairman.
Kigongo used the Friday afternoon meeting of the NRM’s top most policy organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to tell Museveni that as a person who has contributed to the party since the early 1980s when Museveni launched a guerilla war that thrust him into power 35 years ago, he needed to be protected from competition.
The ruling party’s number two is for the first time in NRM history, facing a stiff challenge from former minister, Capt. Francis Babu, a 33-year-old Kefa Mafumu and a 42-year-old Hakeem Asiimwe Lukenge.
Sources close to what transpired in the Friday meeting have told The Witness that Museveni listened quietly as Kigongo told the meeting of how it would be unjust to subject him to competition with relatively new party members.
Besides his old rivalries with Babu, Kigongo is also disturbed that he has to compete with someone who was born almost two years after the NRM had captured state power.
The Entebbe meeting was convened days after Kigongo had penned a missive to NRM delegates warning that the forthcoming NRM party elections could destroy the party.
“I appeal to you to vote wisely. This election can build or destroy our party depending on the quality of leadership at the top,” Kigongo wrote.
Kigongo spoke after the party’s secretary-general, Justine Kasule Lumumba had presented a progress report on the implementation of the NRM electoral roadmap.
Immediately after, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza shot up to add to what Kigongo had said but Museveni did not allow him to say much and deferred the matter to Tuesday, August 11 when CEC will meet again to vet the candidates.
Kyaligonza is facing a tough challenge from the state minister for Housing, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi as well as the deputy executive director of the Government Media Centre, Col. Shaban Bantariza and Dr Diini Kisembo.
Before the meeting, there had been plans by some CEC members to push through a motion to extend their term office but Museveni did not allow room for the motion to be moved.
Museveni is the only candidate among the NRM national leaders who is unopposed ahead of the August 18 elections.