The National Resistance Movement [NRM] party Electoral Commission
has ruled out holding party primaries through electoral colleges.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Dr Tanga Odoi, the Chairperson
of the Party’s Electoral Commission said notwithstanding what is taking place
in parliament, the party is going elect their flag bearers in the same way that
they have been electing them in recent elections.
MPs are currently debating the guidelines recently presented by
the Justice and Constitutional Affair’s minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu on how
political parties can hold party primaries without necessarily gathering people
in compliance with the ministry of health guidelines on the spread of COVID-19.
The NRM used to hold party primaries using electoral colleges but
this system was abandoned in 2015 due to numerous complaints of cheating and
manipulation of voters.
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Odoi said that on Sunday, the Central Executive Committee
[CEC] of the party is going to review the NRM electoral roadmap and on Monday
he will communicate it to the public.
“The Commission has since December 2018, tabled before CEC, the
NRM draft roadmaps and regulations for conducting all internal elections…The
Commission, therefore, calls upon the entire NRM fraternity to patiently wait
for the official release,” Odoi said.
CEC has five times sat and failed to agree on the party electoral
roadmap. The contention was how to balance between having a credible election
without bleaching guidelines set out by the ministry of health on how to
prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some members of the all-powerful CEC headed
by President Museveni, the party chairman, were suggesting that the party
ditches the constitutional amendments passed by the delegates’ conference early
this year that changed the mode of voting from the secret ballot to lining
They argued that it would be very hard to have people line behind
candidates and observe social distancing rules. This prompted some CEC
members to propose that the party not only does away with lining behind
candidates but also ditch universal suffrage where every party member has a
right to choose a candidate to hold the party’s card in the general elections.
Some CEC members according to information from those knowledgeable
about the discussion also proposed that the elections be postponed until such a
time when the coronavirus is no longer a threat. But the majority of the
members flatly rejected this proposal which is also supported by some
Speaking at the same press conference, Odoi, said, the proposal of
postponing an election is unrealistic.