Kampala — The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders under the national association of districts and lower local government councils, have endorsed President Museveni, the NRM chairperson, as the sole party candidate in the 2021 presidential elections.
The news about the endorsement of the ruling party leader came as the top NRM organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) leaders retreated to Chobe Safari Lodge, in the Murchison Falls National Park, about 271.3 km from Kampala, to prepare for the 2021 general election, among other things.
Although NRM ULGA(Uganda Local Governments' Association) members last week met in Kyankwanzi and resolved to support Museveni as a sole candidate in the next presidential elections, the delegates conference is the sole body within the NRM hierarchy that is mandated to decide whether President Museveni should have a competitor or not.
Sources within CEC told Sunday Monitor that the petition was delivered to State House and Plot 10, and at an appropriate time it will be presented to the President, CEC and NEC.
Although such resolutions are not binding, they however, carry significant political weight "because it is the same people who will attend the delegates' conference".
The members of ULGA who include the district chairpersons, district speakers and the representatives of LCIII chairpersons, cited Mr Museveni's "visionary leadership and support to decentralisation, continued championing of peace and pan Africanism, and political stability in the country, which they say has occasioned visible development as grounds for rooting for continuity of his leadership.
"We, therefore, resolve thus: President Museveni accepts to stand as our sole presidential candidate in the election of 2021. We commit to mobilise and reach out to our communities to ensure that our candidate attains victory," the petition reads.
In the run-up to the 2016 general elections, the current State minister for Investments, Ms Evelyn Anite, spearheaded President Museveni's sole candidature project that effectively locked out the former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. After he was sacked from Cabinet, Mr Mbabazi would later contest as an independent candidate in a crowded contest. The final vote tally gave him 1.39 per cent.
Mr George Mutabazi, the Lwengo District chairperson, who is also the president of ULGA, told Sunday Monitor that there is nothing wrong with the district chairpersons asking President Museveni to stand as the sole NRM presidential candidate.
"We are the majority and we see nothing wrong in fronting our candidate as the sole NRM candidate in the next elections. We have made a decision which we have forwarded to the State House for consideration," Mr Mutabazi said.
Meanwhile, Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the NRM spokesperson (Secretariat), indicated in a statement released at the weekend that the President would open the five-day-CEC retreat and present a key paper on ideology and strategy.
CEC is also expected to discuss undisclosed constitutional amendments and the 2021 roadmap.
CEC members attending the retreat include Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, NRM Vice Chairperson Moses Kigongo, Gen Jim Muhwezi, among others. The Secretariat staff is led by NRM Sectary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, Rose Namayanja Nsereko (treasurer), Richard Todwong (deputy secretary general) and Dr Kenneth Omona (deputy treasurer).