President Museveni, who is also the Chairperson of National Resistance Movement, on Sunday charged at the party Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Tanga Odoi.
The extraordinary meeting which lasted for 3 hours from 9pm to a few minutes past midnight was meant to analyze the party’s readiness for the upcoming Local Council one elections slated for early next month.
It was attended by top leaders including Museveni, Central Executive Committee and Secretariat members, Chairpersons of Commissions and their members and all the district NRM chairpersons including Janet Museveni for Ntungamo.
The whole room stood up, when Museveni entered with the wife, and started singing happy birthday song for Janet who celebrated her 70th birthday on Sunday.
According to sources who attended the meeting, the district bosses accused the party Electoral Commission under Mr. Tanga for bypassing them and instead using other officials to channel money for the selection of flag-bearers.
Tanga Odoi has reportedly distanced himself from any structure under the party Secretariat in all EC activities and only using the registrars.
“The EC Chairman now doesn’t want to associate or carry out any activity with the district chairpersons that he thinks are directly in touch with the Secretariat,” a source who attended the meeting said.
The meeting also realized that the money being channelled to the districts is not uniform.
The district chairmen led by Iganga’s Walubiri, even went a head and moved a motion for the scrapping of registrar positions.
Museveni who had patiently listened to all speakers while taking notes, took the floor at almost 11pm and straight away asked Tanga to explain how the LCI poll money has been spent.
Tanga however reportedly started by thanking Janet Museveni for securing a win in the Ntungamo parliamentary by-elections when her predecessor died and was subsequently replaced by NRM candidate.
Already scheduled to travel to Khartoum the next day early morning for South Sudan peace talks, Museveni asked Tanga Odoi to cut short the long praises for Janet and get straight to election cash.
Tanga instead referred the matter to his deputy John Arimpa Kigyagi who also failed to convincingly elucidate on the money the Commission received for LCI election preparations.
The furious Museveni then ordered the two party electoral bosses to leave the floor since they had nothing useful to present to the meeting.
The party released Shs 3.5bn for the purpose before cancellation of LCI elections in November last year.
All the time was dedicated to presidential age limit amendment.
The NRM Legal Advisor, Oscar Kihiha took the floor after Tanga to explain the party rules governing the exercising of powers between organs of the party.
Mr. Kihiha quoted the NRM Constitution article 40 which says there shall be a Secretary General as the head and in charge of day-to-day activities of the party.
Museveni agreed with Kihiha’s interpretation and pronounced that the NRM EC is only autonomous but not independent as they want it to be.
“I think this professor of history of ours (Tanga) doesn’t understand between autonomy and independence. The electoral commission is only autonomous from the Secretariat but not independence,” Museveni said.
When contacted on phone, Tanga denied getting any money for LCI elections and also insisted that the EC just like any other commission is independent and only accountable to CEC not the Secretariat.
“Bring that billions you’re mentioning to me here because I have not seen it. And let me also tell you that all Commissions only account to CEC not the Secretary General or the Secretariat,” he said.
He added that the powers of the SG ended with the term of Amama Mbabazi.
There are also fears in the party that Tanga Odoi is building his own structure that might be difficult to control in the future.