By Paul Kiwuuwa & Leticia Kahubire
KAMPALA - Earlier this week, the Democratic Party was critical of the NRM parliamentary caucus for resolving that President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM party chairman, stands unopposed as the ruling party’s flag-bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
But that critical reaction drew an even sterner response from government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, who said the opposition party had better clean up its own backyard first, before nosing in the business of NRM.
He insisted that the Nobert Mao-led opposition party ought to stick to sorting out its internal wrangles other than grappling with the NRM – a party he maintained has registered success in good governance and rule of the law countrywide.
Speaking on behalf of president general Mao on Tuesday, DP’s press secretary Fred Mwesigwa said majority of the NRM MPs were “forced” to sign the resolution “because they owe various financial institutions large sums of borrowed money, which the president [Museveni] promised to pay”.
In reaction to this in an interview with New Vision, Ofwono pointed to “internal issues” that DP is grappling with, which have made the oldest political party in Uganda “dormant” and incomparable to NRM which “has at least led the country into development”.
In an emphatic reference to the argument on debts, he said: “Does DP want President Museveni to sell his cows to clear the MPs debts? Museveni is not the financial advisor to the MPs.
“It is a lie; President Museveni never promised to pay any of the MPs debts at Kyankwanzi and neither was it on the agenda.”
Ofwono went on to question DP’s prosperity.
“DP needs to clean its internal house before attacking NRM for none issues. NRM has registered success, and can show a legacy in many issues but where has DP succeeded?”
But Mao, in his speech, felt the NRM legislators acted contrary to the constitution by endorsing their leader for a fifth term because “they never consulted majority of Ugandans”.
“Most of the people who propose to stand for presidency within the NRM party fear to come out openly, because present Museveni is seen as the only one with the vision to deliver the party,” he said in the speech read by Mwesigwa.
The NRM party on Sunday wrapped up a 11-day annual retreat at Kyankwanzi.
During a luncheon held at Rwamasindi Abasonga Presidential farm in Ngoma, Nakaseke district last week, MPs supported a proposal by Northern Youth MP Evelyn Anite to front Museveni for 2016.
The President was recognized for his role in ensuring peace, security, democracy and social economic transformation, among others, and was urged to stand unopposed in the coming presidential polls.
Last year, there emerged reports of MPs – who are among the best-pain individuals in the country – appealing to the President to salvage them from their chocking loans.