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Catholic lawyers challenge NRM delegates’ conference

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th November 2014 03:21 PM

A group of catholic lawyers have warned the ruling NRM that it risks embarking on a wild goose chase if it fails to rectify what they allege are “irregularities” in the current preparations for its national delegates conference mid-next month.

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A group of catholic lawyers have warned the ruling NRM that it risks embarking on a wild goose chase if it fails to rectify what they allege are “irregularities” in the current preparations for its national delegates conference mid-next month.

By Moses Walubiri

A group of catholic lawyers have warned the ruling NRM that it risks embarking on a wild goose chase if it fails to rectify what they allege are “irregularities” in the current preparations for its national delegates conference mid-next month.


Under their umbrella body – Uganda Catholic Lawyers’ Society (UCLS) – the advocates contend any resolution made by NRM delegates during its impending conclave will be null and void.

Party chairman, President Yoweri Museveni, early this month summoned NRM’s top organ for a meeting that is normally a prelude to all election cycles.

The delegates’ conference is also expected to endorse a string of amendments to the party constitution including inserting a provision for the party chairman to appoint a secretary general.

“The internal operations of all political parties must be in sync with the laws of the country. No one is at liberty to breach the constitution and other laws in the course of conducting political party activities,” UCLS vice chairperson, Fredrick Ssemwanga told the press.

Citing section 11 of the Political Parties and Organizations Act, UCLS president, Jude Mbabali said NRM cannot legally change its constitution without notifying the Electoral Commission (EC).

The section makes it mandatory for any party that seeks to change or alter its constitution, identifying symbol, color or name to notify the EC of its intention.

Upon receipt of such notification, the EC is, within 21 days obliged to cause to be published in the gazette such information.

According to Mbabali, NRM has not yet notified the EC yet its legal team is busy scrutinizing proposals by its members about possible constitutional changes.

When the over 500 delegates convene at Nambole stadium on 15th December, they will have a lot on their plate, including effecting a string of changes to the party constitution.

UCLS also faults the legality of the notice by NRM’s acting secretary general, Dorothy Hyuha, calling for proposals about possible changes to NRM’s constitution.

Citing section 16 of the Political Parties and Organizations Act which bars civil servants from participating in partisan politics, UCLS contend that Hyuha who is Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania should not be actively involved in NRM’s activities, unless she resigns her docket.

“This anomaly has been going on for a long time and no one has dared to challenge it. Many civil servants are holding positions in NRM which is illegal,” Mbabali said, citing Matayo Kyaligonza (ambassador to Burundi) and Dennis Namara (presidential advisor).

Mbabali also noted that any attempt by NRM to bestow powers to the party chairman to elect a secretary general is against the spirit of Article 71(d) which makes it mandatory for all members of the national organs of political parties to be elected and not appointed.

However, EC Spokesperson, Moses Taremwa, said NRM is not obligated to notify EC unless it’s planning to change and instead of amending its constitution.

“NRM has not notified us and I believe it’s not necessary,” Taremwa said.

NRM Spokesperson, Karooro Okurut, however, in response referred Sunday Vision to NRM lawyers. “I don’t think I am in position to say anything. Try Adolf Mwesige,” Okurut said.

However, efforts to get a comment from Mwesige proved futile as his cellphone was switched off.

Last week, NRM CEC decided to send the issue of an appointed secretary general to the party’s legal committee.

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