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Monday,September 28,2020 04:59 AM

The Movement Party Finally Taking Shape

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th May 2003 03:00 AM

The consultative meeting held by politicians who believe in the Movement system of leadership was intended to clean the house and set it up for greater political challenges that lie ahead.

The consultative meeting held by politicians who believe in the Movement system of leadership was intended to clean the house and set it up for greater political challenges that lie ahead.

By Joshua Kato
The consultative meeting held by politicians who believe in the Movement system of leadership was intended to clean the house and set it up for greater political challenges that lie ahead. By the end of it all, a National Resistance Movement organisation was born.
The highlights of the meeting included an exchange between President Yoweri Museveni and Jaberi Bidandi Ssali. This was over the issue of the “third term,” However, both the President and Bidandi Ssali seemed to have overcome this exchange and put all their efforts to cleaning up the Movement. Bidandi called the exchange unfortunate, but added that it was between two brothers and it was over. To show that he was over it, Bidandi was the “star” contributor as a constitution to guide the party was passed, and a process to register the party within six months was agreed.
Essential elements of the NRM organisation’s constitution are that it does not condone dissenters in the party. Moses Byaruhanga, President Museveni’s private secretary on political affairs, explains that getting rid of people who used to fight the system from within was one of the reasons the Movement chose to clean itself: “We have been having so many people who go against the agreed stand of the party. This clause is intended to remove them,” he says.
Unlike the old Movement, this organisation has a disciplinary committee to deal with acts of indiscipline within the party. Before and throughout the meeting, the President kept referring to “indisciplined” cadres of the Movement. The committee will listen to cases and give appropriate sentences, including dismissal from the organisation.
Also changed from the old Movement is the issue of all-inclusiveness. The President said that because the Movement was all-inclusive, it brought on board people who did not love it at heart, but were there by law. Before this, the President had talked of okwejjako, to allow all those who were not supporting the Movement to leave.
Also lost is the issue of individual merit: “The Movement will now be fielding only one candidate,” Moses Byaruhanga laments. He says individual merit has been a strength, because it has brought so many people in politics, but also a weakness, because in some cases many candidates all claiming to be Movement people stood for the same post.
The inclusion of the federal issue in the constitution of the party is intended to bring on board the views of Buganda and other elements who see the federalism question as the main issue. Up to now, no political party had the federal issue in their constitutions.
The bus was maintained as the symbol of the Movement organisation. It is to have a book inside, as a symbol of the enlightenment the Movement brought.
By the end, Bidandi Ssali was chosen to deputise Kigongo in the process of registering the NRM party. Bidandi Ssali does not show any kind of animosity towards the President. The way he passionately talks about registering the NRM party effectively masks any hint of tension: “I have been given the responsibility of registering the party, which is no small task. I think if the President did not have any trust in me, he would not have given me this task,” he says.
However, some observers say, the adoption of the national Task Force was not out of design or original plan, but out of convenience.
They had actually planned to hold the elections for office bearers, but because of the restrictions in the PPOA, many of the expected leaders of the organisation including the President are barred. Elections will therefore be held after these people have resigned from their top civil servants jobs or from the army.
The NRM organisation seems to have sprung up in high gear. The interim leaders of the organisation are beaming with hope: “Parties should brace themselves for a much tougher fight than they have been having. The NRM party will be very hard to defeat because it is going to introduce new styles of campaigning, away from the kind of kakuyege you have seen before,” Kigongo says.
James Kinobe, one of the promoters of the organisation and chairman of the Movement caucus, says the organisation will maintain its basis as a peasant organisation: “We know that we came from the peasants and so we are targeting them in the organisation,” he says.
Therefore, the organisation is targeting at least five million supporters, most of them in the villages.
The organisation is starting in a position of strength compared to other parties. This is because many of the local councils in rural areas are willing to turn into its committees. They also plan a big committee for every five villages.
That other parties are picking on the legality of the NRM meeting rather than cleaning their houses is a blessing for the NRM party. Analysts say that instead of threatening to take the Movement party to court over holding an illegal meeting, using tax payers money to facilitate civil servants and army officers, who are all illegal under the PPOA, what other parties should have done is to organise themselves at around the same time and see if Police would have intervened.
According to the PPOA, civil servants and serving soldiers are not supposed to be founder members of a political party. Erias Lukwago, the DP lawyer, threatened to take the NRM party to court.
Francis Ayume, the Attorney General, however, says that the issue of legality of the members can only arise after the party has been registered. Joseph Luzige, a legal officer in the President’s office, explains further: “There is no known NRM party at present, at least legally, since it has not been registered. All those people at the Conference Centre were just promoters. Unless they appear on the final list of founders, they cannot be used as evidence in a court of law,” he says.
The formation of the NRM organisation has been met with mixed reactions from the public. Sadam Gayiira, a political commentator on radio famously known as Sadam owe Nsambya says the organisation will not change as long as it has the same leaders: “It is just a change of name, but nothing special. Unless it gets new leaders, Ugandans should not expect anything,” he says.
Gamwero Kigozi, one of the promoters, thinks that the changes are for the good: “Other parties are now quaking in their pants. NRM has revitalised itself and it is going to show them fire,” he says. Ends

The Movement Party Finally Taking Shape

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