BugandaA NRM mobilisers have asked President Yoweri Museveni to stand again in 2016.
They said he was the only capable candidate available to continue steering the party ahead.
President Yoweri Museveni met the NRM Buganda campaign task force at State House, Entebbe on Thursday over issues in the party.
The consultation was an extension of the unfinished business in last week's meeting where Museveni disclosed the urgent need to replace the party secretary general.
The mobilisers, who were led by the regional NRM vice-chairman, Hajji Abdu Nadduli, included NRM activists who played a big role in the 2011 party campaigns and the 23 district chairpersons.
The issues discussed included 2016, the issue of the secretary general, Mengo, the election loss in Kasese and NRM rebels.
Speaker after speaker lauded Museveni for keeping discipline in the army and being a 'calm, listening and capable' leader whom they felt was the suitable candidate the party could field in the next elections.
One Kabuzi, a mobiliser from Nakaseke caused laughter when he said he would drag Museveni to court if he turned down their request to stand again in 2016. He said the country was still demanding a lot from him and doubted whether there was any other leader in the party who would fulfill his pledges. Museveni gave him money for a brand new motorcycle. Kasese loss
The President again blamed the NRM loss in the Kasese by-election on the weakness of the Secretary General, whom he said failed to mobilise in time and failed to handle the confusion caused by facilitation money that was given to village mobilisers.
He said party funds for facilitation of campaign mobilisers caused confusion and was a delicate issue that could easily antagonise the party support and instead turn into 'poison'. He cited an example of some villages in Kasese where NRM lost after the opposition 'confused' NRM members saying they had been side-lined when others were receiving money.
"Each of the 30 mobilisers in villages was given sh5,000 as facilitation but when the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) campaigners learnt of it, they 'confused' the voters that they were sidelined from money from Museveni. This angered many who revenged by refusing to vote for the NRM flag bearer.
Busy secretary general Museveni again blamed the mess on the weakness of the Secretary General, who is too busy to dedicate time to party work. "He should have mobilised in Kasese earlier other than panicking at the last minute," he said.
He vowed to use his powers as President and party chairman to appoint a substantive Secretary General and fully facilitate the office to enable the person concentrate on party work.
"He or she will have a separate office and we can give him or her a different title until the National Council sits to elect their own."
Citing the Buikwe and Mukono North by-elections, which the party lost, Museveni said no one had disclosed to him that most of his pledges had not been fulfilled. But when he came out to implement them, the opposition opposed it, he said.
"I found out that there were no roads, no electricity and when I tried to immediately start on works, the opposition challenged it, but this is because we lack a full-time Secretary general," he stressed.
Some task force members used the chance to lobby for Ruth Nankabirwa for the post of the proposed substantive Secretary General. Nankabirwa was present in the meeting and got excited at the commendations.
UNTOUCHABLE INNER CIRCLE
However, many mobilisers blamed the losses on what they called the President's inner circle and State House untouchables, whom they said were diverting funds he sends to implement his pledges, to other projects.
Retired Maj. Joseph Kakooza from Mubende told Museveni that he was surrounded by a clique he was grooming to take over from him who were instead 'stabbing him in the back'.
However, Museveni denied grooming or declared anybody as successor.
"That impression is wrong," he said.
Kakooza insisted that many people close to Museveni were working for his downfall. He cited the example of sh50m Museveni sent to Kasambya to fulfill his pledge but the beneficiaries had to use sh10m to bribe state house officials to access it.
"When you direct that some people or their children be rewarded for working for the party, that clique around you instead forwards different names," he said.
Hajji Lubyayi Kisiki said former Vice-President Dr. Specioza Kazibwe promised sh300m from Museveni to voters in Bukomansimbi in 2011 but she never delivered it. "That could have contributed to our loss," he said.
Lubyayi added that most of the NRM top positions were dormant and needed to be revamped.
Maria Nankya from Nsangi said the sh400m that the President sent for mobilisers in Busiro East was diverted by corrupt officials. She also suggested that the party should have a 'simple, accessible and not arrogant' secretary general.
Mamerito Mugerwa asked the President to tackle corruption in his government and sack whoever was incriminated, regardless of their role in the bush war.
Museveni asked the mobilisers not to waste time 'singing' about Mengo issues but to show their people the 'gold' they were sitting on. "Buganda is strategically located with a ready market due to the proximity to the capital city but instead, many Baganda don't take this as an opportunity.
Why don't Buganda leaders begin with this chance at their disposal instead of singing about issues of Mengo?" he asked.
He said given the good roads, fertile land and proximity to the market, Buganda was at an advantage and asked the mobilisers to help people exploit the situation.
He, however, did not comment on requests to return property Buganda still demands from the Central
Government, which some mobilisers suggested was causing NRM loss in Buganda region.
KAMPALA MP NSEREKO
On the issue of the 'indiscipline' in the party, many mobilisers asked the President to 'do away' with 'rebels' especially Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko.
Museveni, however, said the matter was sensitive and risky. "We need to mobilise first. It does not help us to expel Nsereko or any other from the party, to expose us to another byelection and then lose it," he said.
He, however, explained that a fulltime Secretary General was a priority, for the party to prepare enough before it engages in a by-election. "It would be a disaster if we sacked one from the party and then lost the seat to him or her in a fresh election."
After the meeting, several members started lashing out at their colleagues who had diverted the meeting and started begging for favours from Museveni. They singled out former Mpigi LC5 chairman, Levi Zimbe, who asked Museveni to buy him tyres for his car.
Zimbe caused laughter when he said he was using boda bodas while covering his face because he was too poor to afford tyres. Museveni promised to meet the mobilisers again in December at Kyankwazi.
He said he had recorded over 100 submissions and would need about three days to go through them.
He asked the task force chairman, Nadduli, to list other queries and forward them later.