and Henry Mukasa
THE National Executive Council (NEC) of the ruling NRM party yesterday endorsed President Yoweri Museveni as its 2011 presidential candidate and resolved to canvass support for the partyâ€™s continued stay in power.
At the end of the three-day meeting at State House Entebbe, NEC, the partyâ€™s policy organ, also recommended that the national conference retains Museveni as the NRM chairman.
Sources, however, said when the resolution for the retention of Museveni as chairperson was being discussed, Dokolo MP Okot Ogong objected. The President then stepped aside to allow the delegates debate the matter freely. The meeting later rejected Ogongâ€™s motion.
The National Executive Council is the second highest organ of the NRM. Its recommendations will feature at the delegatesâ€™ conference mid this year.
The members yesterday unanimously vowed to support the continued stay in power of the NRM to consolidate the achievements made.
They also agreed that NRM flag-bearers will be chosen using adult membersâ€™ suffrage and not electoral colleges, as was the procedure.
There will, however, be exceptions for the presidential candidate, MPs and local councillors for youth, workers and persons with disability.
The meeting also resolved that the party will work with independents and members of other political parties who wish to join the NRM.
â€œThe independents and members from other parties shall execute memoranda of understanding with the NRM, committing them to remain in NRM during and after the national general elections.â€
The delegates vowed to resolve internal conflicts and contradictions â€œthrough the appropriate organs to achieve cohesion and teamwork.â€
They also resolved to ensure coordination and monitoring of government programmes and effective service delivery as a means of implementing the NRM manifesto.
In his address on Wednesday, the President strongly criticised the formation of cliques in the party.
â€œI hear that in the Movement, there is something called God-fatherism; that is a short-hand for â€˜cliqueismâ€™ and clique formation. If you read our NRM code of conduct, cliquesâ€™ formation is very, very bad,â€ he said.
He reminded that there were serious penalties on the formation of cliques in the National Resistance Army.
â€œWe take you to andaki (tunnel) as punishment. What I need is facts to handle this in a frank way. You should not involve yourself in a clique formation nor should you belong to one.â€
The President was prompted by remarks from delegates that internal divisions could undermine the party.
Former minister Capt. Francis Babu had told the meeting that some cliques went to the extent of working with the opposition to discredit the party.
â€œThey run around and play around our leadership. They have no respect even for themselves and are not ashamed to sell the party,â€ he said.
Reacting to proposals that new leaders are needed in the Movement, Museveni cautioned that politics is not about age but about ideas.
â€œBecause now I am an old man, you may find that my ideas are close to those of a young man, just like Nyerereâ€™s were, and you may find that I am in conflict with an old man.â€
Reacting to allegations that he mainly appoints people from his region into government jobs, Museveni explained that he appointed people based on electoral performances, region and their role in the resistance struggle.
He noted that some regions had brought down the people he appointed to national jobs, such as former ministers Eric Adriko, Gen. Moses Ali, Betty Akech and Okello Oryem, all from northern Uganda. He attributed the problem in the north to people telling lies and causing confusion.
There was development in western Uganda because people got rid of â€œconfused politics like kingshipsâ€, he stated.
â€œThat is why there is prosperity, with people concentrating on improving their dairy and farm production to access markets and improve their incomes.â€