Museveni Hopes to Defuse NRM Tensions as CEC Meets Again

Members of NRM’s second-highest policy organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) meet at State House, Entebbe, again today, for the sixth time in less than two weeks, to take a final vote on the ruling party’s approach to next year’s elections.

In the previous meetings, the NRM bosses disagreed on how the party’s electoral program will fit into that of the Justice Simon Byabakama-led Electoral Commission (EC) that announced several Covid-19 related restrictions.

See: https://www.witness.co.ug/nrm-regrets-constitutional-amendments-covid-19-restrictions/

Besides the electoral program, the NRM chairman, President Yoweri Museveni hopes to use Wednesday’s meeting to defuse growing tensions within the 23-member organ that are likely to affect operations at the NRM secretariat.

During their last meeting on June 27, a divided CEC tore down a list of nominees that Museveni wants to take up leadership roles at the NRM secretariat.

Museveni named former Bunyole MP Emmanuel Dombo as the secretariat’s new director for information and publicity and Mathias Kasamba, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) as director for mobilisation.

Museveni dropped the John Patrick Amama Mbabazi-era director of finance and administration, Hassan Wasswa Galiwango whom he replaced with the Koboko district NRM chairperson, Medina Naham while former Kanungu Woman MP Jacqueline Kyatuheire was named the new deputy national treasurer, replacing Dr. Kenneth Omona who was recently shifted to State House as Museveni’s principal private secretary.

According to insiders, there is an ongoing mobilization against Museveni’s choices which are believed to have been influenced by the secretary-general, Justine Kasule Lumumba.

“There are intrigues, and a group within CEC that is opposed to Lumumba thinks that she picked on her friends to take up jobs at the secretariat,” a source said.

The anti-Lumumba group has two categories; one that can’t openly speak out against her because they depend on the facilitation they pick from her office for survival. The second category is of those that hold other jobs that guarantee their survival without the allowances from Lumumba’s office.

These are the likes of the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa who did most of the talking during the June 27 meeting.

Nankabirwa told Museveni that some of the names Lumumba had given him not “suitable to be at the secretariat.”

Speaking at length about Dombo, Nankabirwa dug up past political activities that he was involved in as a Member of Parliament. For instance, the former Bunyole MP was a member of the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) that opposed the lifting of term limits when the 1995 Constitution was amended for the first time in 2005.

The amendment deleted Article 105(2) which limited Museveni to two elective presidential terms.

“They cited Dombo’s involvement with PAFO, [former minister] Dorothy Hyuha’s defeat [in 2010] by the late Cerinah Nebanda, to say that he is not ideologically clear on many things,” the source said.

Kasamba on the other hand is being fought because he is a member of EALA which “pays him over Shs 50 million a month.”

“We hope that the disagreements will be resolved in today’s meeting and we move forward,” a source said.   

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