Disgruntled NRM Independents Demand Audience With Museveni

1720 Views Kampala, Uganda
More than 80 NRM independents have today convened in Kampala Kampala to design means of forging through their latest controversies with their NRM party. The party gave the independents a two-week ultimatum to step down. Led by Margaret Muhanga, the woman MP for Kabarole, the independent candidates met at Kati Kati hotel in Kampala, after they were denied a chance to meet at Hotel Africana. Africana Hotel charged them a prohibitive fee of 10 million shillings for a three-hour meeting forcing Muhanga and group to relocate to Kati Kati. Last week, Amama Mbabazi, the NRM Secretary General, told journalists in Kampala that the party would give independents up to December 16th this year to listen to the grievances of the losers in the August primaries of the party. The deadline has since angered the independents, with many accusing Mbabazi and other senior party leaders of trying to throw them out of the party. During the meeting today, several of the charged members said they would fight off all attempts to demonize them and label them as party rebels. They insisted that they have more support from the party faithful in the areas and that failing them would be failing the candidature of president Museveni. Esther Mbayo, a loser in the primary elections for Luwuka District, said that the party electoral commission has refused to declare her winner and yet her votes are more than those of the eventual winner. She said threatening her with an ultimatum is not going to change her mind at all. Vincent Walumbe, from Bunghoko South in Mbale demanded that the party must find a better solution to their grievances other than giving them deadlines because like in his case, there is no way he can campaign for his party presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni while being denied to show thumbs-up, a campaign symbol of the NRM party. More interesting though was Kazingi Donald, an independent candidate at Mulago Parish local council who said that he has learnt a good lesson from his party Chairman Museveni of fighting against election injustices. Kazingi said that the letter "R" in the party's NRM acronym stands for Resistance, which he was appropriately applying now after his votes were rigged. The independents have now resolved to write to and meet president Museveni soon to resolve their grievances. They vowed never to listen to Mbabazi, accusing him of being partial. They said they had lost trust in the Kigongo committee because it had failed to amicably resolve their problems. Ofwono Opondo, the party deputy spokesman has welcomed their demand to meet the president. He said that this was in line with the Mbabazi address last week to have dialogue to resolve the crisis caused by the independents. But Ofwono says this may only be possible during the Christmas recess when the president will take a short two-day break off the campaigns. Ofwono said however that the independents couldn't run away from their secretary general since he is the official administrator elected to serve them. He denied Mbabazi or him baptizing the independents rebels. Muhanga said she would write to the president seeking an audience to meet them as soon as possible.


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