I start this piece with appreciation; appreciation is the incentive that drives more action and achievement. I wish to thank everyone who participated in the NRM party primaries at various levels -as candidates , voters, election management officers and administrators. For the record, the NRM internal elections were the most organised and far reaching. Every local cell in the country participated and hopefully, we can count that exercise done, except in isolated areas where there are unresolved but resolvable issues to finalise.
Next, I wish to thank teams which have gone down to assess the aftermath of the elections and to try and reconcile contending sides. Reports have been coming in from everywhere of progress made in this regard. Kindly, let us cooperate with this effort, come to the root of any grievances and accept that there is more to life than elections! We have already urged winners and losers to work together.
The party National Chairman has been instrumental in ensuring that the party gets the better of whichever scenario arose from the internal elections, helping to defuse tensions and to deepen cohesion while taking note of the takeaways from the exercise this time round. If elections grant us new leadership, they also prepare us for another time.
During the same time, it was announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (I.E.C) that Uganda’s favourite Presidential aspiring candidate, the NRM flagbearer and incumbent head-of-state, Gen. Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni, was first (and by the time of reporting) and only aspirant to have fulfilled the requirements for nomination, his five million seconders’ signature trove having been verified by the Commission. Again, this was possible because of the love and trust of Ugandans in Museveni’s leadership which, despite notable passage of time in power, they still have hope in. Could he go unopposed, eventually? Who knows?
The NRM flagbearer continued to exhibit versatility, promptness and discipline in the cause of providing leadership. Much as he is busy with state duties, unlike other contenders, he was obedient to the law in regard to the requisite conditions for nomination, and punctual in fulfilling them so as not to burden the Commission with last minute work. This is the beauty of working with Museveni; he lightens everybody’s work and takes nothing for granted; he treasures time and acting in anticipation to avoid last minute panic and excuses.
During the process of gathering the signatures, Ugandans were so eager to append their consent that the minimum number requirement did not apply, hence going all the way to five million. I thank the signees for their love and care for the President and Uganda.
Better still, Museveni is not a first time contender. Therefore, his records at the I.E.C-plus his own preparedness and cooperation-make it easier to process his bid. A great lesson to others! Some aspirants lose due to unpreparedness; this has been witnessed even at lower levels where leadership hopefuls fail to raise just ten signatures of seconders because of indecision and panic.
Talking of coordination; the only thing between NRM and a new term of office is better coordination and unity of purpose of its teams. With the largest membership, the strongest and most far reaching structures, the largest network of leaders, largest network of promoters (formal and informal), with the largest number of candidates at Parliamentary and Local Council level and the best Presidential flagbearer, nothing will stop NRM from winning another term except internal contradictions and wrangling.
During election season, there is always a higher possibility of unease and internal fights cropping up as campaigns heat up and people are elbowing one another seeking to find placing for themselves and their preferred contenders. First, let us ensure that whatever happens internally, we all work for the victory of our presidential candidate since it is, to a large extent, why NRM is still in power. He deserves that appreciation. As a uniting factor, he is the tree where we take shade from the scotching sun when things are tough. Let us cherish and secure that tree notwithstanding what other pressures may come up.
Then, after committing to shelter under Museveni, let us find whatever little good thing there might be to like each other and to work with each other as opposed to looking for the smallest excuse to fall out. We need Museveni reelected for reasons known to everyone but which we shall continue popularising, but we also need to have a clean majority in Parliament and the Local Councils. That requires us to promote our candidates and Manifesto unconditionally, with conviction and colour such that those we are selling our programme to will have no doubt as to why NRM deserves their backing.
As noted that NRM has the biggest network of mobilisers, it is also important that the mobilisation teams are coordinated and traceable to avoid creating unnecessary rivalry and clashing in the field. Let us all work under established and gazette structures and networks and avoid creating irregular ones that may turn out as schemes meant to disorganise and infiltrate our system. There is space for everybody in the existing structures and networks which have clear activity plans and reporting mechanisms.
Whatever we do, let us maintain unity and clarity of purpose to keep ahead of the pack!
The author is a Personal Assistant to the NRM National Chairman and Head of State.
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