Kabale NRM Independents Reject Museveni's Request to Stand Down

871 Views Kabale, Western Region, Uganda
A meeting chaired by President Yoweri Museveni in Kabale that was intended to convince pro-NRM independent candidates to stand down in favor of the official party candidates has failed to yield the intended result. The meeting was held at White Horse Inn in Kabale town on Friday. Although it was closed to the media, several people who attended it have confirmed that three-hour negotiations between the President and his supporters fell flat. Ronah Rita Ninsiima, a radio personality who has risen in recent years to become a major challenger for the Kabale Woman MP seat, reveals that she was offered a government job if she agreed to abandon her campaign. She says she rejected the proposition because she couldn't desert her supporters and the principles for which they stand. Ninsiima lost the NRM primaries to Agriculture Minister Hope Mwesigye. Despite the fact that Mwesigye is the Kabale NRM chairperson, many party members in the district have thrown their weight behind Ninsiima, confident that she can wrestle power away from the Minister. Mwesigye did not comment on the outcome of the meeting. Andrew Baryayanga, the pro-NRM independent parliamentary candidate for Kabale Municipality, refused to attend the meeting with President Museveni. Baryayanga, who is contesting against Tourism State Minister Serapio Rukundo, says he avoided the meeting because he has the mandate of the people to stand for office. He argues that he doesn't need Museveni's permission for election. The incumbent Rubanda West MP, Henry Banyenzaki, says it was necessary to iron out issues within the party. However he isn't happy that the issues that have caused division within the NRM in Kabale were not discussed at length. Banyenzaki discloses that the meeting debated in detail the NRM prospects of retaining the Kabale Municipality seat if Andrew Baryayanga proceeds with his bid. He says there are fears that Wilfred Mulumba of the Forum for Democratic Change may take advantage of the split vote. Sources who attended the meeting say President Museveni reluctantly agreed to allow the independent candidates to continue their campaign. The President however said the NRM would not fund their elections. Earlier last week, President Museveni held a similar meeting with independent candidates in Kisoro. The independent candidates there - Eudia Kwizera, Rose Kabagyenyi, Silver Bahane and Ethics and Integrity State Minister Nsaba Buturo - all refused to step down in favor of the official NRM nominees. ###