NRM Chairman Yoweri Museveni
The National Resistance Movement Central Executive Committee meeting on Saturday was sharply faced with two antagonistic views from the senior officials on how to select candidates for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
According to sources who attended the closed door meeting that took place at State House Entebbe, the first group consisting of the Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, her Deputy Richard Todwong, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and others wanted CEC to decide and pick only 6 candidates that the NRM is expected to present to Parliament.
Another group led by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga who is also the NRM National Female Vice Chairperson, backed by the Historical League Chairperson, Jim Muhwezi strongly opposed the first group.
Kadaga reportedly insisted that it would be entirely unfair for NRM to receive money from candidates and later deny them chance to contest.
“Money has already been collected from each one intending to become the EALA member. Selecting the few and stopping many of them at this stage would be unfair,” Kadaga said according to a source who asked not to be named since he is not authorized to speak on behalf of CEC.
The NRM Electoral Chairperson, Prof. Tanga Odoi took Shs2m from each of the candidates during the picking of nomination forms.
Kadaga and her group maintained that all the 43 candidates should be first presented before the Caucus members scheduled to sit on Tuesday next week and their fate decided from there.
President Yoweri Museveni who characteristically first observed the mood, later endorsed Kadaga’s views, saying there is hardly a suitable yardstick for CEC to pick the 6 out of 43.
“I am personally not seeing any method we are going to employ here to zero on the 6 candidates,” said Museveni, according to another source.
Museveni said he personally knows 80 percent of the NRM candidates standing for EALA and he finds it difficult to prematurely stop them.
When contacted on phone, Todwong declined to comment saying CEC matters are confidential and not for public consumption.
He however reluctantly mentioned that he only “observed” the proceedings.
Efforts to reach Lumumba and Nankabirwa were futile as their known numbers were not available.