Despite being endorsed by NRM parliamentary caucus as the party candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, President Yoweri Museveni has to go through the Party primaries according to the party constitution.
More than 200 190 NRM legislators and ex-officials endorsed a motion moved on Friday last week by Evelyn Anite, the Northern Uganda Youth MP to present Museveni as the NRM party candidate.
However, the NRM constitution only mandates the national conference to elect candidates for every elective National and Local Government office through party primaries. Section 39 (1) of the NRM constitution states that, all members of NRM who meet the National legal requirements shall be eligible to become candidates for NRM at various levels. Sub Section (2) and (2) (a) note that for every Elective National and Local Government office there shall be primaries held within NRM to determine NRM candidate and that the Presidential Candidate for NRM shall be elected by the National Conference.
The same Constitution under Functions of the National Conference mandates the national Executive to elect a Presidential Candidate to be sponsored by the party in the national elections. Sub Section 11 (2) notes that the National Conference shall consist of the National Chairperson, National Vice Chairperson, Members of the National Executive Committee, the Secretary General, the deputy Secretary General, NRM National Secretaries, NRM Members of Parliament, Members of NRM Historical Leaders Forum. Other officials are Members of the National Executive Committee of all special organs, Members of NRM District Executive Committees, Members of the District Executive Committees of all organs, NRM Members on District Councils and NRM Chairpersons of Sub-County Conferences.
The same provision states that NRM sub county chairperson may invite not more than twenty individuals who have made a special contribution to the struggle or who have special skills or experience to attend the conference as observers. City Lawyer Laudislus Rwakafuzi notes that the decision by the NRM parliamentary caucus to endorse Mueveni as the sole candidate does not only breach the NRM constitution but also the national constitution, which requires all political parties to adhere to principles of internal democracy.
Rwakafuzi argues that despite the fact that, Museveni is very popular the decision by the caucus to endorse him in disregard of procedure will haunt the country as some people may opt to resort to violence to capture power, which may turn bloody. Gerald Karuhanga, the Western Youth MP also a Lawyer faults NRM legislators for abusing their party legal provision saying the caucus has not mandate to endorse a presidential candidate. He says they should have stuck to the provisions in their party legal frame work particularly, which mandate the National Conference to elect the party Presidential candidate.
In addition to choosing candidates for elective national and local government election, the national conference is also mandated to determine and articulate the principles, policies and programs of NRM, Generate consensus on key political, economic and social policies within NRM, mobilize the people to ensure full participation in the implementation of political, economic and social policies of NRM.
Other functions are to promote National Unity and Solidarity, Advise Members of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus on policies of NRM, Elect the National Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary General, National Treasurer, Deputy Secretary General, and the Presidential Candidate to be sponsored by NRM in National elections.