NRM league chairpersons are under instructions to table their action plans on how they are going to popularize the age limit amendment proposal. In the plan, the ongoing consultations are going to be given more two weeks meaning that the bill may return to parliament for second reading early December.
Contacted for a comment on this, David Mafabi, the private secretary to the president confirmed our story saying ‘within one week, we want the whole country to turn yellow’
Our well places sources in NRM Central Executive Committee [CEC] informed us that there is a proposal among some CEC members that this bill should first of all; have some of its proposals dropped [at committee stage] and make it simple for members to debate and pass it in one day.
The plan is to have the bill presented for second reading, debated and then refer it to the committee of the whole house after which it will be read for the third and last time.
“We are saying that if we continue to keep it around after the second reading, we shall be inviting further delays and protests like what transpired when the motion to bring it was tabled. But if we reduce on the size of clauses therein the bill, we shall make work simplier for members to handle it quickly at all stages and pass it in one day” the sources told us.
The untold reason as to why the NRM maintains that this age limit cap was smuggled into the constitution is that it actually came up at last minute. We were informed by our good sources that during the CA, rumor came up that former exiled president Milton Obote wanted to return to the country upon learning that in 1996, there were plans to hold general elections. This therefore sent Museveni’s NRA/M into panic because they felt their political future was threatened. To begin with, the Democratic Party [DP] was planning to front Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere while UPC wanted to also participate. However, its candidate wasn’t known until rumor came up that Obote was returning. Well-placed sources told us that this scared Museveni and his men. He first of all, started by approaching UPC iron lady [then] Cecilia Ogwal to defect and be appointed vice president. However, the lady from Lango rejected the offer. Museveni’s plan was to weaken UPC so that if Obote returned, he would begin from scratch. When Ogwal rejected the offer, his eyes went to DP where he sweet-talked Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe to defect and be appointed VP.
However, not convinced about UPC, a move was crafted in a way that Obote should be blocked from standing even if he returned to the country. At that time, Obote was 75years. This was the reason; the likes of Nobel Mayombo came up with this proposal to sneak in the issue of age limit.
“I want to tell you that if Obote that time was 72 years or 69 years, the upper age limit was going to read so. The whole plan was to block him from standing in 1996. Museveni could not afford to face two rivals [Paul Semogerere-DP] and Obote [UPC] at the same time yet he was still new in government. The whole game had to be sorted legally in the constitution. This is why the age limit was brought in but it has now caught up with us” the senior party member assured us.
CEC sources told us that in the new arrangement to have the age limit issue get out of the way, it is important to pass the bill in one so that the security forces will deal with the incidental protests [if any] once and for all instead of keeping the country on its toes.
“Currently, we are seeing that the country is getting divided along Togikwakato and Tugikwatako lines. Some people have become violent and this is something we feel can be avoided if parliament handles the matter once and for all. For us in NRM, we are ready but what needs to be done is to make regular interface with members to ascertain their real stand” the sources revealed.
In fact, sources said that arising from this fear which Red Pepper reported that some members plot surprise revolt on the voting day, the government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa is currently involved in meetings with individual members of parliament to ascertain their real stand on the matter.
We have also heard that some members who are critical of the amendment are currently facing financial restrictions especially those who want to get loans from money lenders.
“The office of chief whip has been one of those recommending members for some loans but at times, some members are denied this especially if you are deemed to be a rebel. When the chief whip’s office is called in the process of doing due diligence on the borrower, the office may say no or yes depending on one’s stand on the matter” the sources explained.
BACK TO NRM LEAGUES
The directive to the leagues to table their action plan comes at a week after the head of state who is also the NRM party chairman met two important party organs including CEC and NEC at state house Entebbe.
We can exclusively report that the office of the party chairman on Monday reached out to all chairpersons of leagues asking them to bring their action plans.
“He has called us to bring our action plan. He wants to know how leagues are going to hit the ground and market the idea among the population. He thinks that since all leagues have got targeted groups, this would make it easier to for him to reach out to particular groups through leagues. We are all working on our action plans and deliver them to the secretariat” a CEC member who heads one of the leagues revealed to us.
When we contacted him for a comment, Mafabi said that this campaign is in fulfillment of the CEC resolution which a week ago. CEC resolved to support the Magyezi amendment bill, popularize it and also urged all Ugandans to debate this matter peacefully with respect to each other.
“The league chairpersons are members of CEC. We want to operationalize the resolutions of CEC. We held NEC which also endorsed the CEC resolutions. I think the leagues are now trying to do their best on how each can put into practical terms what CEC resolved” he said, adding that the process is ongoing and begins today Monday.
“This is an ongoing process and within one week, the whole country will be yellow” he said on phone.
WHO WILL DO WHAT
In the plan, there are different roles each league is going to play. The NRM has got leagues of youth, elderly, historical, entrepreneurs, and institutions among others. The vice chairpersons of all regions are supposed to mobilize all districts towards supporting this bill. In this briefing, we reveal the age limit line up.
This team according to sources is headed by Mike Sebalu working with the likes of Tamale Mirundi assisted by all league chairpersons. He is supposed to be facilitated fully to traverse the country.
The women’s league headed by Lydia Wanyoto is also going to play an important role here. We were told that for the first time in the history of NRM, the party has started getting scares that there is a lot of women activism against the ruling party. It is therefore the work of Wanyoto’s team to ensure that women are talked to and are mobilized to support the amendment. Our sources added that the recent actions by speaker Rebecca Kadaga to authorize beating of MPs mainly fellow women MPs in parliament also did more negativity to the ruling party which has always been seen as a champion of women’s rights.
The Diaspora league headed by Abbey Kigozi Walusimbi is supposed to market the age limit among all Ugandans abroad. Sources said that where the embassies cannot come out clearly to defend the ruling party by virtue of their jobs, it is Walusimbi’s Diaspora league which is supposed to engage the international community on why this matter is being handled now. The same league will ensure that it comes back to Uganda and explain to Ugandans what it feels for Museveni’s rule to continue as far as attracting investments is concerned in order to create more jobs. It is going to be led by Ambassador Don Ssozi who is a senior NRM cadre. He will lead the international community.
The youth league led by Nasur Gaddafi is on the other hand also going to play a critical role. Its major task is going to be explaining to the masses especially youths about what the party is doing to deal with rampant unemployment. It was reported that the youth are posing a big threat to this amendment and yet they are the majority. It is therefore important to engage them so that they support an amendment that they view as meant to deprive them of a chance to rule this country.
As for the institutions’ league led by Kabakumba Masiko, the main work will be to traverse the institutions of learning particularly schools and universities. It was reported that the institutions league is seen as vital because students are currently more politically active and majority of them are charged against government. It was reported that these children are also playing a big role in influencing their guardians on which side they should take as far as the amendment is concerned. The other league is that of persons with disabilities led by Gabriel Katto and veterans led by Jim Muhwezi.
NRM CEC Squad to Fight for Age Limit
Meanwhile, according to a statement issued yesterday by NRM secretariat, the party begins its countrywide consultations Today Monday on age limit. The president has deployed a lethal team of CEC members led by Hajji Moses Kigongo.
The deployment based on sub regions will see the party’s first National Vice Chairperson Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo taking charge of the Greater Masaka Sub Region. Others on the list include. Acholi: Hon. Richard Todwong [deputy SG], Kampala: Hon. Rose Namayanja [treasurer], Godfrey Nyakana [Kampala vice chairperson] and Dr. Hassan Galiwango, Greater Luwero and Mukono: Hajji Abdul Nadduli [Buganda vice], Greater Mubende: Hon Ruth Nankabirwa [chief whip], Greater Mpigi: Hon Mathias Kasamba [member], West Nile: Hon Hudu Oleru [member] and Hajji Nasur Gaddafi [youth league], Lango: Hon Sam Engola [vice northern]and Hon Lydia Wanyoto [women league], Karamoja: Hon Simon Peter Aleper [vice Karamoja] and Gabriel Katto [PWD], Busoga: Hon. Ali Kirunda Kivejinja [Historical] and Hon Milton Muwuma, Bukedi: Hon. Mike Mukula [vice eastern], Sebei and Elgon: Hon Dominic Gidudu and Teso: Dr. Kenneth Omona [deputy treasurer]. Others are Bunyoro: Hon Kahinda Otafire [member] and Oscar Kihika, Rwenzori: Hon Matayo Kyaligonza [vice western] and Dr. Robert Rukaari [Enterprenuers], Ankoke: Hon Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi [veterans] and James Twegeyo [workers] while Kigezi sub-region is going to be handled by PM Ruhakana Rugunda.
“The Party Secretariat in Kampala has already dispatched off its advance teams to different Sub Regions to lay ground for the arrival of the senior party officials” Rogers Mulindwa, the NRM communications officer said.