The NRM national executive council rejects the nomination of Amama Mbabazi as a member of the party’s expanded CEC.
- Trade and Industry Minister Amelia Kyambadde NOT voted to CEC as earlier reported
By David Lumu
The NRM national executive council (NEC) has rejected the nomination of former prime minister and outgoing secretary general, Amama Mbabazi, as a member of the party’s expanded central executive committee.
In a secret ballot, NEC members voted for five senior party members to join the influential central executive committee (CEC), the third highest organ of the ruling party.
Mbabazi lost the seat on CEC, when the party constitution was amended to scrap election for the positions of secretary
general, deputy secretary general, treasurer and deputy treasurer.
Mbabazi has been a member of CEC since the formation of the NRM in 2005.
President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM party chairperson, had nominated Mbabazi to become a member of CEC.
But NEC on Thursday rejected the nomination.
Although Mbabazi is a member of NEC, by virtue of being an NRM MP, he did not attend the meeting at State House, according to sources.
The five voted to sit on CEC include Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda; Justice and Constitution affairs minister, Kahinda Otafiire; defence minister, Crispus Kiyonga; former deputy secretary general, Dorothy Hyuha and the Yumbe district Woman MP, Huda Oleru.
Nakasongola Woman MP Margaret Komuhangi (centre) congratulating information minister and treasurer Rose Namayanja (left) and NRM secretary general Kasule Lumumba after they were approved by the National Executive Committee of the party at Entebbe on Thursday. Photo by Abu Mwesigwa
According to party deputy spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, Otafiire polled 508 votes; Rugunda 450; Oleru 391; Kiyonga 367; Hyuha 283 and Kyambadde 274.
Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde came sixth and therefore did not make it to the CEC as earlier reported.
Mbabazi polled 111 votes and, therefore, lost. Otafiire and Huda join CEC for the first time. Otafiire, the Mitooma County MP, has hitherto not been part of CEC.
NEC also approved the appointment of the Government Chief Whip, Justine Lumumba, as new NRM secretary general; minister for political mobilisation and Richard Todwong, as deputy secretary general to run the party’s secretariat.
Others are information minister, Rose Namayanja, as treasurer and Kaberamaido MP, Kenneth Omona, as deputy treasurer.
Chaired by Museveni, the NRM party chairman, NEC also approved Makerere University lecturer, Tanga Odoi, as the chairperson of the party’s electoral commission and his two deputies; Jane Alisemera, former Bundibugyo MP and John Arimpa, the former Mbarara municipality MP.
Born in 1958, Alisemera was the chairperson of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association in the eighth parliament.
A nurse by profession, Alisemera served as the executive director of Reproductive Services and a project manager at Pathfinder International, before joining politics. In 2011, she lost her parliamentary seat to Harriet Ntabazi.
On the other hand, Arimpa, 60, retired from politics in 2011 to do private business. Shortly after NEC members confirmed the new team, Museveni adjourned the meeting for 45 minutes.
This was meant to allow members of CEC to agree on the nominees from which five members would be selected by NEC members to sit on the expanded CEC.
Among the amendments that the NRM party national conference approved on December 15, 2014, was to expand CEC from 25 members to 30.
When the meeting reconvened, Museveni asked Lumumba to invite the local government minister and head of the NRM legal team, Adolf Mwesige, to brief the members about the news that was streaming from the Constitutional Court in Kampala regarding a case that was filed by Benjamin Alipanga, challenging the NRM constitutional amendments.
An excited Mwesige said the application seeking to block the swearing-in of the new secretariat officials had been “dismissed”. Members burst into jubilation, danced and hugged each other.
As NEC was meeting in Entebbe yesterday, the acting deputy Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma, was delivering his ruling on the application to place an injunction on the swearing-in of the new party officials.
After Mwesige’s submission, names of the 13 nominees from which NEC was supposed to select five were tabled. These included Rugunda, Mbabazi, Kyambadde, Hyuha, Kiyonga and former deputy treasurer, Singh Katongole.
Others are Otafiire, Huda, Samson Ilukori, Ngoma Ngime, Haruna Sebbi, Michael Ssekamatte and former minister, Edward Rugumayo.
Sources said Otafiire’s name was received by members with a standing ovation. When they were presented, a debate followed on whether voting on the names should be by show of hands or secret ballot. Museveni then proposed secret ballot and members accepted.
At this juncture, Odoi presided over the voting exercise as the party’s electoral commission chairperson. But before he did, Museveni asked Mwesige to clarify on whether new members could perform their roles legally.
In response, Mwesige said there was no legal impediment that can prevent the new office-bearers from doing their job during the meeting.
NEC has 780 members and yesterday’s meeting was attended by 600 members, according to the tally of the party’s electoral commission.
Ofwono noted: “We now expect the new team to re-organise the secretariat and publish the road map for 2015/16 elections.”
He also said swearing in for the new NRM leaders is not a requirement and not provided for in the Constitution.
“Only NEC approval is needed which has been done and concluded,” he added.
NRM leaders reject Mbabazi