President Museveni is free to abandon NRM after winning 2016 elections and he will not be obliged to lose his juicy state house job!
The same applies to any opposition leader who might win the polls on a party/coalition platform but chooses to defect and remains a president!
This is part of the recommendations by the ruling party, NRM.
“We support the proposal that a whoever ceases to be a member of a party should lose his seat. But this shouldn’t apply to MPs alone. It should extend to even those in other elective offices like LC5 and councilors. It is only the president who shouldn’t resign in case he crosses,” NRM Deputy secretary general Richard Todwong Awany said, attracting a line of questions from members especially NRM who demanded to know why the president is being protected.
“Why are you excluding the president? He carries the flag of the party but what if he chooses to abandon the party NRM and takes on the ideology and principles of another party after winning election? Why do you protect him?” Jovah Kamateka asked.
“When you talk of elective offices but leave out the president, it seems this proposal targets MPs alone. It is possible for the president to be elected on a party ticket but after reaching state house, he destroys the party or coalition and goes back to his original party or forms a new one. We have seen this happen in Kenya, and other countries,” Katuntu Abdu added.
More members continued to insist that the president should be included on the list of those to lose seats but Todwong said the president is protected under article 98 of the constitution.
“This article is entrenched. Amending it requires a referendum. It says the president takes precedent over any other person. The president is for all people and if we open the presidency to the whims of political party, it will be bad. If FDC comes to power and its leader chooses to abandon it the president is protected if he chooses to cross,” he said.
The members however, insisted on more clarity why the president shouldn’t lose his seat after defecting or forming his own party.
“Since we ran away from individual merit, what will be wrong with the president resigning if he no longer believes in the party that elected him? Why don’t you want him to step aside?” Kamateka insisted but Todwong said that; “That will be a very unfortunate president. I think let us give it a benefit of doubt that the president doesn’t defect. For the president to resign, it might take the country to turmoil”
Todwong however, said that NRM wants all MPs, LC5 chairmen and councilors who cease to be members of their parties or defect from being independents to immediately resign their seats.
Todwong led a team of NRM secretariat staff to the parliamentary committee on legal affairs chaired by Stephen Tashobya to present the party’s position on the constitutional reforms presented recently by government.
The party is backing all proposals but however, says the net should be widened so that it extends to capture local government leaders who defect.
The party also backs a proposal obliging primaries’ losers to first collect 1000 signatures in case they want to stand as independents.
This will enhance discipline in the party and also kick out disorganization of political organizations in the country.
He added that the NRM is purely opposed to a proposal by FDC former leader Kizza Besigye and CSOs to have the term of parliament extended and also elections suspended.
The duo during their appearance before this committee told the committee chaired by Stephen Tashobya that in order to have meaningful constitutional amendments, the term of parliament needs to be extended so that the process is done thoroughly.
“If MPs are not ready for elections, I am sorry for them. For us, we are totally against any proposal to extend the life of parliament. NRM is ready and we are on course with our preparations for elections,” Todwong said.