By Andrew Ssenyonga
KAMPALA - The National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidates will be identified by village leaders during the NRM mayoral primaries because the party lacks a clean and updated voters’ register, says the party’s deputy electoral commission chief.
Prof. Elijah Mushemeza disclosed this on Monday during a joint candidates’ consultative meeting at the party headquarters.
The meeting was aimed at agreeing on the time frame for their campaigns.
“By the time we assumed office, the party had no clean and updated voters’ register,” said Mushemeza, adding that the issue has been highlighted “by the numerous new members who continue to join the party”.
The NRM mayoral nominations were held on Friday and Saturday at the party headquarters in Kampala, with primaries’ elections scheduled for March 30.
The nominees include Peter Sematimba, Muhammad Kasule, Hajji Twaha Najja and Fred Kazibwe.
As a solution to the register issue, the party says it is inviting all NRM village leaders to identify their members on the polling day to minimize irregularities.
“To minimize all avenues of malpractice, the party is in contact with all the 910 village leaders to identify all our members on the polling day. This will bar all people from the opposition who would wish to cause chaos,” said Mushemeza.
Party membership cards will not be used, he said, as many of their previous members have defected with those cards.
“We have been conducting polls in others areas without a [voter’s] register. This will not be a new case. We ask our members to be vigilant to prevent irregularities,” he said.
The office of the Kampala Lord Mayor was declared vacant following the impeachment of Erias Lukwago in November last year.
Elections to fill the position are scheduled for April 17.
Lukwago has since petitioned court to stop the exercise from going on, insisting that there is a pending case where he is challenging his impeachment and the damning tribunal report that faulted him for abuse of office.
All the four NRM contenders have agreed to have joint campaigns during the primaries as it is stipulated in the party’s constitution.
Accordingly, the NRM commissioner in charge of legal affairs at the electoral commission, Dorothy Kisaka, asked the candidates to adhere to the party’s electoral rules.
“Article 10 of the party’s electoral commission rules and regulations stipulates that there shall be joint campaign rallies for the nominated candidates,” she said.