KAMPALA - The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has kicked off a debate on the need to amend the party’s constitution to pave way for lining up as opposed to the secret ballot during primary elections.
The party secretary general, Justine Kasule Lumumba, said the proposal to amend the party constitution will be subjected to all party structures (village to national) before the process is effected during the national conference that is scheduled for November this year.
“As a party, we are observant of the political debates within the country, and we are aware that politics is not static, it changes. So, the debate and discussion on the amendment of our party constitution has started. There are suggestions that lining up as opposed to secret ballot be introduced and we have allowed these discussions to go until we meet at the national conference to consider these amendments,” Lumumba told journalists during a press conference at the party headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday morning.
Lumumba, who was flanked by members of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), also launched the NRM political roadmap for the 2021 general elections, outlining various deadlines for a number of activities, including the massive registration of members.
Key on the agenda of NRM this year, Lumumba said, is the need to mobilise party supporters to register with the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and get national Identity cards before the end of February.
“We have started mobilising those who have come of age (voting age is 18 years) and those that didn’t register to participate in the NIRA enrollment exercise so that they can be able to vote for NRM candidates,” she added.
On the proposed amendment of the NRM party constitution, Lumumba said, she will ask the party treasurer, Rose Namayanja, to craft a budget on how much lining up will cost as opposed to secret ballot so that party members make an informed decision.
In July last year, Ugandans voted local council chairpersons by lining up in a process that many ticked off as successful.
Given the history of chaos that marred NRM party primaries in two subsequent general electoral processes, 2011 and 2016, many NRM supporters have started to root for lining up in order to minimise costs, chaos and the proliferation of independent candidates due to the fall out after party primaries.