Former Makindye East MP John Ssimbwa, is threatening to seek a court injunction stopping the election of new NRM party leaders because the party’s electoral commission is biased and unfair to candidates that have come up to challenge President Yoweri Museveni for the position of party chairman.
Ssimbwa who represented Makindye East in the 9th Parliament wants to head the party as Museveni holds the NRM flag into the 2021 presidential elections. His desire to replace Museveni as NRM chairman is based on his claim that the president no longer has time to run the party’s activities.
He however accuses the Dr. Tanga Odoi-led NRM electoral commission of frustrating his efforts when it refused to provide him with the regulations that will govern this year’s elections. According to Ssimbwa, although Odoi had indicated that all leadership positions are up for grabs, the reality seems different.
“If by tomorrow they have not given me the regulations, I will have no option but to go to court and stop this exercise. Our constitution clearly states the requirements for contesting for any position in the party,” Ssimbwa told journalists at the party EC headquarters in Kampala.
He said that according to the party regulations, the NRM electoral commission shall give guidelines on how the vote will be conducted.
He also cited the statutory instrument which Parliament passed authorizing party executive committees to take decisions that ordinarily are a preserve of the delegates’ conference, do not in any way stop the parties from having free and fair elections.
Odoi denied Ssimbwa’s accusations against him.
“Nobody will fail here; the next level is where someone will fail but not here. For me, I’m very transparent,” Odoi said. “We don’t have a side; here at the Electoral Commission; we are neutral, I have no problem with Hon. Ssimbwa… I’m very straight forward,” Odoi said.
According to the NRM constitution, anyone interested in being a member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC); the supreme body of the party, must be vetted by the same CEC whose chairman is President Museveni. If CEC is satisfied with one’s candidature, it then allows the party’s electoral commission to nominate them for the delegates to decide.
However this time around, it’s only the National Executive Committee of the party that is going to vote because of the difficulty in convening a delegates’ conference due to COVID-19 regulations. NEC and CEC are to sit between August 6-8 to decide those who will take this highly regarded position.
According to information available at the party electoral commission, so far, it is only President Museveni that has expressed interest in being the presidential flag bearer while Ssimbwa is Museveni’s only challenger for the position of party chairman.
For the position of First National Vice Chairperson, the incumbent, Hajji Moses Kigongo will have to stave off competition from former Kampala Central MP Capt. Edward Francis Babu.
For the second National Vice Chairperson position, the incumbent Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga so far has no challenger. For the position of Vice-Chairperson Northern, the incumbent Sam Engola will have to defeat the deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oualanyah and another Dr Odongo Samuel Oledo. For Vice-Chairperson Karamoja Simon Peter Aleper, the incumbent is facing a challenge from Lokoru Jimmy Tebanyag.
The position of vice-chairperson Central has so far attracted the highest contestants. Hajji Abdul Nadduli will have to defeat Tourism State Minister Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi, Kayunga NRM chairman, Moses Karangwa and Kyabangi Abdul Semu, the Gomba district chairman. Others are Mayengo Moses and Kiganda Twaha Ssonko.
For the position of vice-chairman Kampala, Amooti Nyakana Godfrey, the incumbent will tussle it out with former Lubaga North MP Katongole Singh, Kampala businessman Salim Uhuru and a one Walusimbi Jackson. For the vice-chairperson Eastern region, the incumbent Capt. George Mike Mukula will have to defeat former Tororo municipality MP Sanjay Tanna and Ekongot John Roberts to retain the position.
In Western Uganda, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza’s competition comes from Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of State for housing, former MP’s Kintu Florence Tumwine, Boaz Kafuda and Shaban Bantariza, the deputy director of Uganda Media Centre and another Dr Deen Emmanuel Kisembo.