The legislator says the resolution to field President Yoweri Museveni as the party’s sole candidate was imposed on him.
By Taddeo Bwambale and Moses Mulondo
KAMPALA - A member of the ruling NRM party has said the resolution to field President Yoweri Museveni as the party’s sole candidate ahead of the 2016 elections, was imposed on him.
Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale said the resolution was conceived primarily by the youth, whom he castigated for not doing enough to take leadership in politics.
“Who proposed the sole candidature of President Yoweri Museveni? The NRM young turks like Evelyn Anite (Youth MP) imposed it on him. It was not his idea,” Mukitale said.
Mukitale was responding to concerns by civil society about internal democracy of parties as they prepare for the 2016 general elections.
The discussion was held at a three-day conference held at Hotel Africana to seek consensus on proposed reforms to guarantee free and fair elections.
Mukitale said he was disappointed by the youth for not positioning themselves to take power, even when they constitute the largest share of Uganda’s population.
“I am completely opposed to the idea of transfer of power to NRM historicals. Some youth are rallying behind Amama Mbabazi. We should be talking about a new generation taking over leadership,” he said. He argued that youth should take leadership in all political parties.
Heads of political parties, religious leaders, youth and other actors at the conference and endorsed a set of electoral and constitutional reforms ahead of the elections.
The NRM party was not represented at the meeting and party officials said they were not formally invited.
On Wednesday, the parties resolved that the current Electoral Commission be disbanded for a new independent electoral commission agreed upon by all stakeholders.
They proposed that the selection of commissioners and staff must follow a process of open application, public hearings and scrutiny conducted by the Judicial Service Commission.
“The successful applicants should be finally vetted by parliament and upon approval be submitted to the President for appointment,” the document signed by the parties states.
They want the selection of the secretariat of the staff of the commission at all levels and the selection of returning and presiding officers and polling assistants to go through public hearings and publically advertised recruitment process agreed upon by political parties.
In order to ensure integrity of the voting process, they agreed that the new Electoral Commission compiles a new, credible and verifiable voters’ register including eligible Ugandans in diaspora.
They also resolved that the army should not be involved in the electoral process and police officers to be deployed in the electoral process should be under the direction and supervision of the Electoral Commission.
The parties want an incumbent President to hand over power to a transitional government at the time of elections in order to level the playing field for candidates.
The parties resolved that the President should relinquish tactical command and control of the armed forces to the Joint Chiefs and must not serve as chairman of the UPDF high command and the Chief of Defence Forces must be fully in charge of all men and women in service.
For a credible and fair campaign process, the delegates resolved that a mechanism must be established to monitor and prevent withdrawal of funds from the Central Bank, ministries, and international assistance accounts in the period before and during election campaigns.
The parties proposed that an office of Comptroller of Budget be established to keep track of money trails and prevent diversion of funds for partisan political activities from the treasury, ministries, and other public accounts.
They also want restrictions on classified and supplementary appropriations, in the period of two financial years preceding general elections.
The delegates resolved that appropriations to the Office of the President and State House to be restricted and strictly monitored and any presidential donation above 500 currency points (sh10m) should require the prior approval of a relevant parliamentary committee.
The parties resolved that ministers should resign their MP seats to entrench separation of powers and called for the scrap office of Resident District Commissioners (RDCs).
They also want army and workers MPs removed from parliament and well regional ministries, and the Public Order Management Act repealed to allow parties mobilise without restraint.
Sole candidature was imposed on Museveni - MP