By John Odyek
IN a bid to beat the deadline for the national nominations of parliamentary candidates, the NRM is to hold primary elections on November 18 in areas where the polls were either disputed or not held.
NRM secretary general Amama Mbabazi and the acting chairman of the partyâ€™s electoral commission, Prof. Elijah Mushemeza, told journalists in Kampala on Saturday that they would resolve all petitions this week to give their candidates time to prepare for the national nominations on November 24 and 25.
Mbabazi said the general campaigns for the party would kick off as the contentious primaries are sorted out.
â€œWhoever comes out as a candidate for NRM will represent the party in the campaigns,â€ he remarked.
The NRM held its primaries in August. They were marred by violence, lack of voting materials, incomplete registers, vote bribing and rigging.
Mushemeza vowed to dispose of all the election petitions before November 18 when the full list of flag-bearers would be announced.
He said there were many petitions, including one against Maj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the trade minister, which would be resolved this week.
Mushemeza stressed that in districts like Kyenjojo and Kapchorwa, where elections were not carried out, these would be done on November 18.
â€œThe commission is not going to be intimidated by anybody. We have a reconciliation team headed by NRM vice-chairman Alhaji Moses Kigongo going around the country. They report to us their findings and we act on them. We shall take objective decisions,â€ Mushemeza said.
He added that where court had pronounced judgment on the elections, the ruling would be respected.
Mushemeza said in Mukono district, where results for the LC5 race were nullified, a re-run will be held this week.
He explained that where polls were carried out, there would be no repeat.
â€œIf we are to repeat the elections, we will create confusion. We will concentrate on positions where elections were not held,â€ he said.
Mbabazi said the NRM mayoral flag-bearer for Kampala district had not been declared as they wait for Parliament to debate the Kampala City Bill 2009. He said if the Bill is passed, Kampala would be administered and developed by the central government and its administrative structures would change.
â€œIf the Bill is not passed this week, the NRM would elect its candidate for Kampala mayor,â€ he said.
On succession of power, Mbabazi said as NRM competes for power, the party hopes its leadership would be taken over by young people.
â€œI have a few more years. I need to rest. I need to give way to young people to take over,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the NRM special tasks committee visited the Mt. Elgon region from October 27 to 30 to address electoral issues.
They went to Mbale, Manafwa, Sironko, Bukedea, Busia, Tororo, Namayingo and Bugiri districts.
The committee, comprising chairman Kigongo, Dora Byamukama, Ruth Kavuma Nvumetta and John Kigyagi, advised party members to forget their differences and rally behind the flag-bearers.
Kigongo, who is also the chairman of the party disciplinary committee, warned party officials against abuse of office.
This followed complaints that the administrative secretaries of Mbale and Busia districts had not given many contestants their results.
In Namayingo district, two sets of results were handed over to the NRM electoral commission.
Kigongo noted that results which were altered or falsified would be rectified.
He said the NRM party was bigger than the members and repeated that independents would not be allowed to use the party colours and logo.
Kigongo cautioned party members who hold leadership positions and want to stand as independents, saying they would automatically lose the positions.