Nebanda's elder sister, Florence Andiru, will have to win NRM primaries if she is to earn the party's official endorsement despite swirling media reports that the 26-year has already declared her candidature to replace her departed sister as Butaleja woman MP on NRM ticket.
Dismissing reports that Andiru's candidature on NRM ticket is absolute, the chairman of NRM's electoral commission Prof. Elijah Mushemeza said "failure to conduct party primaries would be a gross breach to NRM's constitution."
"The party has not endorsed anyone yet. We plan to hold a consultative meeting with all key stakeholders in Butaleja on 5 January next year. Thereafter, a blueprint for nominations and elections will be released," Mushemeza told New Vision in a phone interview yesterday.
Asked whether the party might bend its rules and allow the Nebanda family to choose the party flag bearer in Butaleja, Mushemeza rejected such a scenario saying it would be doing an injustice to other equally politically ambitious NRM cadres in Butaleja.
"Unless she (Andiru) is the only candidate interested in the seat at the time of nominations as the case was recently in Kween district, we shall certainly conduct primaries," Mushemeza said.
During last month's re-election for Kween district chairman, only the eventual winner, Paul Machinjachi returned nomination forms for NRM's primaries.
During parliament's tribute to Cerinah Nebanda, a host of MPs led by Latif Ssebagala (Kawempe North) openly encouraged the fallen MP's mother, Alice Nabulawa to throw her hat in the ring for the vacant seat.
However, the acrimonious fallout from Nabanda's demise has since seen angry residents dissuade family members from running on NRM ticket over what they perceive as botched investigations into the death of the youthful MP.
During Nebanda's funeral in Butaleja, riled and rowdy residents barracked third Deputy Prime Minister, Moses Ali as he attempted to deliver the president's condolence message.
Some were seen hurling NRM membership cards to the ground.
According to the NRM constitution, party flag bearers in elections are elected by party members in each constituency.
However, as evidenced by party primaries preceding last year's general elections, many losers in such contests have tended to stand as independent candidates in elections citing gross irregularities in NRM party primaries.
Butaleja district is an NRM stronghold and whoever clinches the party ticket in primaries will be odds on favorite to win the by-election.
According to the Electoral Commission's spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa, 21 and 22 January next year have been earmarked as nomination days for the impending Butaleja by-elections, while elections will be held on 11 February.
The Butaleja woman MP seat fell vacant following the death of Nebanda mid this month.