This was during an NRM National Executive Council meeting at State House Entebbe.
By Moses Walubiri & Moses Mulondo
Attempts by President Museveni's son-in-law, Odrek Rwabwogo, to end Brig. Matayo Kyaligonza's 'reign' as NRM national vice chairperson Western region has suffered a still birth after its Central Executive Committee (CEC) declined to sanction his candidature.
Rwabogo's candidature in the impending NRM internal elections to elect its leaders at different levels had caused a stir especially among the young party supporters.
Although the contest for the seat had justice and constitutional affairs minister, Kahinda Otafire, throwing his hat in the ring, it has been Kyaligonza publicly expressing his disquiet about Rwabwogo's candidature.
During the NRM National Executive Council meeting Saturday at State House Entebbe, NRM secretary general Kasule Lumumba revealed that Kyaligonza had been unanimously recommended by CEC members during its meeting.
"The person recommended by CEC to NEC for NRM Vice chairperson Western region is Brig. Kyaligonza," Lumumba said, spawning a ripple of murmurs across the members clad in yellow – the party color.
As the murmurs threatened to degenerate into boos with a section of members shouting, "Rwabwogo, Rwabwogo, Rwabogo…" NRM Vice chairman, Moses Kigongo asked those opposed to Kyaligonza to "stand up and be counted."
The meeting took place at State House Entebbe. (Credit: Godfrey Kimono)
However, only minister of relief and disaster, Musa Ecweru and MP Rose Akol dared to stand. Otafire later took to the microphone and explained why he had decided to withdraw his candidature in support of Kyaligonza.
To Otafire, Western region is composed of Toro, Bunyoro, Kigezi and Ankole. With Ankole providing the NRM chairman (Museveni), Otafire said, "it's only fair that other areas in the region are also left to also contribute to the party's top leadership structure."
"NRM is not Ankole. Let us learn to share with others," Otafire said, urguing his supporters in NEC to throw their weight behind Kyaligonza.
In his closing remarks, Museveni cautioned party members seeking elective offices against turning into "donors" in their constituencies, saying they risk imminent financial ruin.
"You need to learn to explain government priorities and policies to the voters to lessen pressure on yourselves. This is what people need and not bribes," Museveni said. However, many MPs in the audience didn't believe him as evidenced by the murmurs that swept through the audience.
According to the NRM constitution, CEC recommends names of candidates vying for top party positions like chairperson, vice chairperson and regional vice chairpersons to NEC. NEC than has the powers to forward names of such candidates to the national council for a final decision after vetting them.
NRM's national council will meet later this month to elect the party's top leadership.
NRM CEC rejects Rwabogo candidature