By Taddeo Bwambale and David Lumu
President Yoweri Museveni has asked the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members to devote their energy into building a strong linkage between the party’s branches countrywide and its headquarters.
During yesterday’s NRM delegates conference held at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, Museveni, who is the NRM chairperson, said the party was strong, but lacks coordination.
“NRM is strong, with 57,000 branches across the country, but they are not connected with the headquarters,” he stated.
“Some of the problems we are facing are due to lack of linkages,” said the President in his address to more than 10,000 delegates who attended the conference.
Museveni re-echoed a concern he made earlier during the party’s National Executive Committee on Sunday, and at Saturday’s Central Executive Committee meeting, that the party had neglected its vast structures that remain dormant after elections.
The delegates conference and the two earlier meetings discussed, among other party issues, key amendments to the party’s constitution.
The delegates, dressed in T-shirts and caps, waved flags bearing Museveni’s picture, with words of endorsement as the party’s sole candidate for the 2016 presidential elections.
Museveni asked NRM party members to contribute towards the construction of the proposed modern office for the party, revealing that sh7b had so far been collected out of the sh30b required.
“We have raised about sh7b, and that money is on the account. We want you to contribute, but many of you have not. I am always contributing and fundraising. I would like you to contribute so that we complete this building,” he said.
The building will constitute conference facilities, a shopping complex, a roof garden, theatres and also host the NRM offices.
The Movement House will be a 27-storey building to symbolise the 27 armed men who ran over the barracks. Fundraising for the project started in 2012.
While extolling the successes of the party in delivering services to Ugandans, Museveni noted that there was need to strengthen its monitoring function by enlisting support of party members.
He revealed that the NRM party will facilitate and deploy its members who are not in the civil service to help monitor government programmes.
Museveni proposed using NRM party structures at district and subcounty level to monitor service delivery, with funding obtained from budgets of some ministries and government agencies.
“I have already instructed the Prime Minister and the Minister in charge of the Presidency to scan the whole spectrum of government expenditure and identify the money that is supposed to be for monitoring in the ministries and agencies that is never used for that purpose. Some of this money can be given to you to do the monitoring,” he said.
Museveni highlighted the problems that are hindering the Government’s efforts to realise accelerated development in the country. He pointed out the frustration by government officials in implementing programmes such as opening up projects by investors and setting up industries
Addressing the delegates, the Secretary General of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Tanzania’s ruling party, Duggu Kinana, lauded the cordial relationship between Tanzania and Uganda. He said it is deeply rooted in the struggle for freedom, right from the time of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
He praised the NRM government, under the leadership of President Museveni, for making tremendous strides in the development of the country within a short time.
The CCM secretary general reminded NRM delegates of the Kiswahili saying: Umoja ni Nguvu, meaning Unity is strength.
The former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Abdulrahman Kinana, told NRM delegates that nothing could be achieved without cohesion and discipline within the party.
Kinana praised Museveni for his tremendous courage, which he said is not only recognised in Uganda, but across Africa.
Notably, during the opening ceremony, former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, hitherto the party’s secretary general played no visible role. Mbabazi sat in a tent reserved for CEC officials, alongside his successor in government, the current premier, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and the state minister for housing, Sam Engola.
The President, First Lady Janet Museveni; Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga; NRM vice chairperson, Alhajj Moses Kigongo and the acting NRM secretary general, Dorothy Hyuha sat in the same tent with the President.
Museveni wants NRM branches to play active role