For the first time since the return of multiparty politics, NRM is going into an election without candidates in at least two constituencies. Officially, the ruling party does not have a candidate in Mawogola North, Sembabule district, and Bukanga county in Isingiro district; thanks to disagreements that the party leadership failed to solve.
Two in-laws, Shartsi Kutesa Musherure, a daughter to Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, and Godfrey Aine Kaguta, a brother to President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni – by extension Musherure’s father-in-law, failed to agree on who should hold the NRM flag.
Aine, commonly known as Sodo, won the hotly contested race for the NRM flag but his daughter-in-law did not accept defeat. She petitioned the NRM elections tribunal that nullified Sodo’s election as flag bearer but could not order for fresh primary elections in the villages Musherure said that her supporters had been disenfranchised since nomination of Parliamentary candidates had already kicked off.
It thus referred the matter to the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) to determine the fate of the two candidates. CEC however did not convene in time leaving the two in-laws with one option of running as independents.
Both arrived at Sembabule district headquarters for nomination on Friday afternoon and Musherure picked a ball as her symbol while Sodo picked a bicycle.
Aine Kaguta who arrived for nomination in the company of Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, said that he couldn’t get enough time to challenge the tribunal decision that withdrew his flag.
He castigated the party tribunal for not being independent while making their decision, arguing that they could have been compromised before making their report which they allegedly hid until the nomination date for general elections.
He vowed to continue his journey by capitalizing on the support he claimed to have obtained from within the party , insisting that he is confident of winning the general elections despite the encumbrances.
Musherure on the other hand expressed delight that the flag was finally withdrawn from her Sodo which gave her chance to continue with her political ambitions.
This leaves the National Unity Platform (NUP) and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) as the only political parties in the constituency. NUP fronted Henry Mawejje Nyanzi while FDC has Moses Lyazi.
The ruling party also failed to solve the confusion in Bukanga county where incumbent MP, Stephen Kangwagye is in a bitter rivalry with Dr. Moses Kashaija Mpairwe. The two had a bitter fight for the NRM flag but even after a fresh election was held on October 2, the impasse remained.
Subsequently, NRM chose not to endorse anyone leaving them to stand as independents. Kangwagye chose a chair as his symbol for next year’s parliamentary elections while Mpairwe will have a clock as his symbol on the ballot paper.
NRM secretary-general, Justine Kasule Lumumba took a last minute decision to save the party from an ugly fight at Ibanda district headquarters after two women turned up for nomination each with a letter from the NRM headquarters endorsing her as the official flag bearer.
Joveline Kaliisa, the incumbent Woman MP and newcomer Jane Bainomugisha arrived at same time for nomination with similar letters from the NRM but signed by different senior party officials.
This forced the returning officer, Dan Ruhemba to telephone Lumumba who picked Bainomugisha as the flag bearer.