We should all appreciate that when such a big congregation of leaders assembles together, it is an exhibition of the great solidarity and strength of the NRM party ahead of the 2021 polls.
By Faruk Kirunda
I have been following discourse about the unpleasant incident at Namboole in which some delegates launched a blistering attack on the NRM secretary general, Ms. Kasule Lumumba, in light of some mishaps that happened during the accreditation process at Kololo airstrip the day before the Delegates Conference.
I insist, the attack on the secretary-general was regrettable and served no particular purpose! It portrayed a very bad image of the party.
We should all appreciate that when such a big congregation of leaders assembles together, it is an exhibition of the great solidarity and strength of the NRM party ahead of the 2021 polls. However, the kind of behavior witnessed only proves that life after President Yoweri Museveni as the National Chairman may be quite difficult for the NRM.
It is, therefore, crucial that the matter of party discipline is urgently prioritised as I have always insisted in my statements.
There is need to investigate the Namboole incident right away. Genuine concerns should be noted and avoided in the forthcoming Delegates Conference. However, if the magnitude of the reaction at Namboole is found not have been commensurate to the cause, the respective "actors" should be carefully identified and brought to book or undergo reorientation or both. Accountability comes in many forms, including monetary and conduct wise.
To me who closely followed steps towards the conference, the incident did not come as a surprise. Kumbaga tewabula musiwuufu say the Baganda meaning that "at every banquet there is an odd person out".
Some of the challenges (and delays) that could have been experienced resulted from new procedures of accountability recently introduced in the NRM. Notice that previously, accountability for funds for official duties was lax. This is no longer the case.
Secondly, this time around, there was insistence on auditing the delegates unlike before when leaders mobilized their own supporters to attend. The new arrangement was introduced by the joint organising committee sent shock waves to many delegates and it was likely to be misunderstood.
It is worth noting that for the first time no delegate left Namboole without being taken care of as necessary. At Kololo, only a minor incident was registered where some youths overpowered the elders and received more than two helpings of food, but as noted above, oddities are expected.
The conference was organized by the Secretariat, Plot 13 and the Office of the NRM National Chairman-Kyambogo under the supervision of the First National Vice Chairperson, Alhaji Moses Kigongo.
Therefore, it would not be just or conclusive to blame anything on anyone particular individual. What is important is that overall, both NEC and the national conference were successful. Members should be discussing how to push forward the discussions and resolutions reached instead of welfare issues which can never be fully satisfied.
Going forward, to ensure greater representation in preparing such future activities, it is high time that the top leadership of NRM came up with a strategy for party members to contribute financially towards party activities.
There is power and authority in demanding for accountability and better provisions from a system in which one has invested. The culture of party members only expecting to be given without putting in anything is not progressive and is partly responsible for the squabbling and entitlement mentaltity. Indeed, this is one factor that threatens the existence of NRM in future, even if we boast of the numbers. We should have members competing on who contributes more as opposed to who takes more.
In this regard, I wish to thank the National Chairman, the Secretary-General and other senior members who worked tirelessly to raise funds for the conference. indeed, they are the ones to demand for accountability, first.
Being a member of the media committee, I talk with authority on this matter because I followed closely how enabling factors were assembled together to make the conference possible. When I see individuals attacking leaders without bothering to establish how they fought hard to put together everything, I can't help but to shudder at the future of the party.
Pointing fingers without returning favours and appreciation is incorrect. We are in politics but politics based on hate is not NRM's way of doing things. Also, the habit of fighting for positions by spreading malice and lies in order to gain advantage should end. Building leaders takes time. Personally, I started mobilizing for NRM at the age of 16. So I know NRM in and out.
I have worked with several NRM senior leaders. For example, I can tell you that our very own NRM people are the ones building the opposition due to selfish interests and the sinister plans to fail those serving the party.
Indeed, the worst scenario is when senior leaders who started the party and who should be examples to the young generation are misleading and inciting young people with wrong information aimed at party. Why don't they declare openly that they are in bed with opposition?
Let us use the Lumumba incident as a turning point for the party!
I wish to advance proposals; in future, accreditation should be finalised at district level. Members should only appear in Kampala with their tags ready to receive materials and final clearance at the gate.
We can also opt for regional conferences than to require all delegates countrywide to show up in Kampala. This can be modeled around the President Museveni's Wealth Creation meetings and conferences of last year. In this case, only the CEC and NEC can meet in Kampala. This arrangement will boost businesses countrywide as locals can cash in during the events and bring NRM to the people's backyard
Lastly, there is also need to recognize and co-opt party promoters and historicals including Members of Parliament who have stood with the party at the most trying times in Parliament when determinant Bills like the ones on "term limits" and "age limit" were being passed.
They should be accorded priority and if possible, their names should be entered in the NRM historical books. Indeed, NRM should begin building a historicals' library for such purposes. I, humbly, offer to initiate this process.
Inclusion and institutional memory will make people feel appreciated and encourage others to join and work hard in the interest of the party.
The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management