President Museveni, who was nominated yesterday by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) as its sole candidate for the 2021 Presidential elections, has said if he wins the sixth elective term in office, his government will focus on internal wealth distribution and growth of the regional market.
“The way forward first of all is deepening modernisation but also regional integration. The manifesto team is working the details. By deepening modernisation, I mean wealth distribution. There is wealth but not well distributed,” Mr Museveni said.
The President, who was accompanied to the party headquarters in Kampala by First Lady and Education Minister Janet Museveni, was at 11:40am declared duly nominated by NRM electoral commission chairperson Dr Tanga Odoi in a race where he was expected to run as a sole candidate for the party’s position.
Mr Museveni’s nominator was Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, while the two seconders were Mr Gadafi Nasur, the National Youth League chairperson, and Ms Amina Lukanga, a 34-year-old resident of Kibuli in Makindye Division, Kampala.
The President is also set to retain his position as NRM national chairperson after he was declared dully nominated having been the only person who paid the Shs10m and returned expression of interest forms. For this position, Dr Rugunda as nominator and Mr Nasur as seconder, were joined by 32- year-old Ms Hellen Seku, a resident of Kamuli B in Kireka as another seconder.
The President, 75, will on the ballot after Parliament cleared his way to contest by removing Article 102b of the Constitution. Parliament amended the Constitution on the basis of discrimination in 2017. Previously, a person who is above 75 years and bellow 35 wouldn’t be allowed to stand for President.
But the ruling NRM party used its strength in Parliament and removed age limit cap from the 1995 Constitution.
The President said one of the key ways of ensuring modernisation is through internal distribution of wealth. He said his new agenda, if elected President in the next polls, will ensure there is increased domestic consumption of products that have since been deemed surplus on the international market. He mentioned milk, banana, maize and sugar, among others, that need to be marketed locally.
Mr Museveni, who bragged about a stable Shilling against the United States dollar, despite the fall in the tourism revenue due to Covid-19, said every Uganda needs to drink 210 litres of milk annually to consume the surplus 800m litres that do not make to the international market.
Concerning the East Africa regional integration, the President said in the next term, if elected, his government will put more efforts in ensuring that member states establish a stable market for the local products. Mr Museveni is guiding the process of writing the draft Constitution for the regional political federation.
“In the manifesto, we shall emphasise the issue of regional integration and regional markets. You see how we are suffering with a simple disease like corona, it is not easy to control because we are not acting together as East Africa,” Mr Museveni said.
NRM Secretariat responds
The Deputy NRM Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong, commended the President for “accepting the call” to continue leading the country.
He said the NRM Secretariat is set to ensure the internal management of the candidates that have been nominated for the Central Executive Committee (CEC) positions and those seeking to hold the party flag on all elective positions without breaking the spirit of the party.
“We have noticed with concern that there are party members who are contesting with one another. We request that you do it with decorum. Many political organisations are collapsing due to wrangles but we note that the party you lead is very strong,” he said.
Other NRM members across the country took to social media to congratulate Mr Museveni upon his nomination as NRM party sole candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections.
However, Dr Odoi told journalists that the final declaration of the President as a sole candidate will come next week after the CEC and National Executive Committee (NEC) vets all those that have contested for higher positions in the party. The CEC and NEC are expected to vet the candidature of Mr Museveni as Presidential flag bearer and national chairperson together with his vice chairpersons between July 30 and August 5.
The confirmation of the NRM presidential flag bearer and national chairperson will be during a virtual delegates’ conference to be held between August 6 and 8 where elections for national vice chairpersons and regional vice chairpersons will be conducted through district resolutions.
Meanwhile, Ali-Hajj Moses Kigongo was also nominated as he seeks to beat off competition from former Kampala Central MP, Capt Francis Babu, and two others for the 1st national vice chairperson. Other contenders with Ali-Hajj Kigongo are Mr Hakeem Lukenge Asiimwe and Mr Kefa Mafumo.
Mr Kigongo who said he has made contribution to the country as one of the pioneers of the Local Council system hit back at the young cadres who are fronting issues of age to take over CEC positions.
“We still have something to fill. That is why some of us don’t want to leave. If you begin removing some parts of the engine, then the vehicle will not move,” said Ali-Hajj Kigondo whose nominator was Ms Kadaga, who also seeks to retain her seat as 2nd national vice chairperson (Female).
What they said
Mr Lukenge said he was happy to be chosen as one of the seconders of the President’s nomination. He, however, declined to reveal the particulars of the party officials who handpicked him for the task.
“Of course I am very happy that I was chosen to be part of this history. As a young person, I wish to see myself up there in the hierarchy of the party that I love working for,” he said.
Mr Moris Muhindo, the secretary general of the NRM Youth League, laughed off those who believe the young people are supporting the Opposition.
“This is not a show off because the NRM is a configuration of different age groups. But also the majority of the population are the young people and this clearly shows that the NRM’s foundation are the young people. That is why the President is being nominated by the young people,” he said.
One of the contenders for the western region vice chairperson slot, Mr Boaz Kafuda, said with Mr President as a presidential candidate, it is easy for the party to mobilise the masses because he has a track record of unifying the country.
At least 50 aspirants have expressed interest in Museveni’s job as the country prepares for 2021 polls.
Museveni names manifesto team
Prof Ephraim Kamuntu-chairperson
Richard Todwong -vice chairperson
Gen Salim Saleh Akandwanaho- member
Eng Dr Lule Ivan-member
Dr Ramathan Goobi-member
Eng Paul Musasizi-member
Eng Safina Nakazibwe-member
Fred Kitaka Mutebi-member
Dr Innocent Achaye-member