IN SUMMARY: State House critical staffs including PPS Molly Kamukama and NRM Secretariat officials were sent out of the room before CEC members uncharacteristically quizzed Museveni on several issues including; impromptu appearance at assassination scenes, distribution of money in Kampala and the rise of Bobi Wine among others.
The National Resistance Movement Central Executive Committee convened on Saturday November 10, 2018 at State House Entebbe just before the Inter-Party Organization on Dialogue meeting at the same venue.
The customarily closed door meeting chaired by President Museveni was even circumscribed more when members demanded and resolved for the blanket exclusion of non-members including President’s Principal Private Secretary, Molly Kamukama.
According to four sources who separately spoke to us on condition of anonymity, only Maj. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso was exceptionally left in the room for strategic and indeed opportunistic reasons.
On Friday November 9th 2018 at 11pm, CEC members received messages on their phones for a meeting scheduled the next day at State House Entebbe at 9:00am. By 9:00am the religiously loyal members were already at State House.
The convener was however not yet ready hence ushering the members to the dinning for breakfast.
The breakfast moment inexorably presented a golden opportunity for significant majority members, who feel left out by the President for the last 11 months since the previous similar convention in December last year, to gather their personal grievances and generally national concerns before facing Museveni.
On his own request, members agreed on the dining table that Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza present the concern on behalf of all members because of his historical and military connection with Museveni.
At 11:00am, the well prepared members were called to the venue for the actual meeting.
Following the agenda of the day, the Chair (Museveni) started his presentation with briefing members on how the main suspect in the assassination of former police boss, ASP Mohammed Kirumira was electronically tracked and apprehended from Western Uganda where he was deceptively acting as a herdsman.
The Commander-in-Chief assured CEC members that the State is in charge and no one has the capacity to destabilize tranquility in Uganda.
“Since 1986 to date, NRA/NRM has made great and indisputable strides in security, economy and sociopolitical pillars,” said Museveni.
During Museveni’s presentation Gen. Kyaligonza tried to interject twice and on the third attempt the President, in uncluttered protest, surrendered the floor to the latter who is the NRM Vice Chairman for Western region. Kyaligonza quickly apologized and the meeting continued.
After finishing his presentation, Museveni straightaway gave the opportunity to Kyaligonza.
“Comrade Kyaligonza had burning issues. Let him tell us before general discussions,” said Museveni.
Kyaligonza grabbed the opportunity and pulled out his about 10 pages presentation invigorated by ideas generated by members during breakfast.
He brought to Museveni’s attention that CEC had preposterously taken 11 months without a single meeting.
He gave example of the ruling Communist Party of China, which sets the agenda for the world’s most populous and second largest economy.
“Members, in China, CPC regularly and can sit for a whole month to strategize and set the governance agenda. We seem to be doing the opposite here,” said Kyaligonza according to corroboration from sources.
Gen. Kyaligonza noted that it was a precarious move for Museveni to rush to the jumbled scene of Kirumira on the night of September 8th 2018 without an ample opportunity for the advance team to fully secure the area.
“Your Excellency we have seen many things most of them on TV. It was not the best option to rush to a murder scene without proper advance team (deployment),” said Kyaligonza.
The general, probably for the first time since the removal of term limit in 2005, mentioned that in case something bad had happened to the President, Uganda would be in turmoil since Museveni hasn’t yet named a successor.
“God forbid, if anything had happened most or all of us would be dead by now. Truth be told, you are main key for stability.”
Kyaligonza also pointed out that the rising stars Kyaddondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi has been created by the State and many mistakes are being made in attempts to contain the youthful legislator.
The general who kept on referring to Bobi as a “boy”, said the arrests and attention given to the legislator by the security is resulting to the latter’s popularity home and abroad.
He questioned the unstructured spending of Shs 2bn in the ghetto areas in Kampala without tangible political effect being felt.
CEC members want to be brought on board in handling of all political maneuvers in the country. The Shs 5bn spent in Rukungiri district during the by-election period was also mentioned.
“In Rukungiri we heard it was Shs 5bn given out and at the end we (NRM) lost the election.”
The meeting comes against the backdrop of increased internal pressure on Museveni to lay a succession path for the country’s leadership.
Wealthy businessman and NRM diehard Barnabus Taremwa recently wrote to Museveni to take “deliberate efforts to groom a lineup of cadres for leadership as part of a wider succession plan to consolidate the achievements of NRM and to ensure continuity.”
He argued, “It was time for the NRM party under your guidance to start vetting and grooming your successor to avoid a vacuum when you finally leave the stage. Like it was then being that most successful political organisations all over the world covertly groom cadres for leadership to ensure sustainability and continuity when old leaders retire.”
Museveni has not shown any signs of leaving power, creating discomfort in the ruling party.
The developments at the CEC meeting also underscored the pressure generated by Bobi Wine whom many believe is eyeing the presidency.
Bobi, who enjoys wide popularity among the urban-based youth, has been rallying the youth to actively participate in the 2021 presidential elections.
BENEFITS FOR CEC MEMBERS
CEC members, who were promised cars in October last year during the process of removing the age limit, have unanimously rejected the proposed double cabin pickups and resolved only to take Land Cruiser Prado.
They argued that the Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba and her colleagues at the NRM Secretariat at Kyaddondo road were being chauffeured in celebrated V8 Land Cruisers. CEC members are higher in the party hierarchy.
CEC members also want defined monthly allowance and housing package since most of them are not deployed in active government positions.
Members during the meeting promptly fronted Karamoja Region Vice Chairman, Simon Peter Aleper to lead the push for the delivery of benefits to CEC members.
He is to be deputized by Women League Chairperson, Lydia Wanyoto.
It was resolved that no monetary matter concerning CEC would be handled by State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe but President’s advisor on defense, Maj. Gen. Nalweyiso.
Members also resolved for a monthly meeting starting next months with a three days convention at Chobe Safari Lodge at Murchison Falls National Park. The second meeting in January is expected to take one week.
The meeting abruptly came to a close at 1:30pm when the protocol informed Museveni that IPOD members were waiting for him for another meeting.
Museveni proposed to the members that Mike Mukula, Eastern Region Vice Chairperson, take over the chairing of the meeting but it was rejected. The Chobe Safari Lodge meeting is expected to exhaust the remaining issues.
When contacted for a comment, NRM Secretariat Communication’s Officer, Rogers Mulindwa confirmed the meeting but said he didn’t attend.
“Yes, there was a meeting on Saturday but I didn’t attend it since it was my Sabbath day,” said Mr Mulindwa.
Neither NRM Secretariat nor State House has released a statement or even a picture about the Saturday meeting.