NRM@38: A new era of cooperation for NRM, Presidency and ONC

By Robert Atuhairwe

Around two years from now, we shall have completedthe first round of voting in yet another cycle of general elections. Recalling that in 2021 we voted for President and Members of Parliament (MPs) on January 14,and in conformity with the 2026 electoral roadmap released by the Electoral Commission (EC) indicating that“polling for both categories shall be held on a date between Monday 12th January and Monday 9th February 2026 in line with- Article 62(2) of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda”, around this time the Ugandan voters shall have named a new President (subject to any court challenge) and new legislators.

Any viable contender, within two years to elections, should have done at least 60% of their homework for success. For an incumbent, it should be at 70%, because incumbency has its advantages. People usually say that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an incumbent to lose (especially in Africa). But we have seen incumbents lose all over the place including Jonathan Goodluck in Nigeria, George Weah in Liberia and Edgar Lungu in Zambia.

For an incumbent to go down, it usually means that the advantage of incumbency was tainted and the system played into the hands of opponents who may use the system’s own structures to bring it down. To survive this self-destruction tendency, incumbent systems like NRM must study closely and learn from the mistakes of other systems that crashed out of power prematurely. Why did Lungu, Jonathan and Weah lose power so fast when President Yoweri Museveni has stayed put for now coming to 40 years? A tendency to maintain an incumbent affirms the voters’ confidence in their own judgment each previous time. Otherwise, how do you vote someone today and in five years’ time you want nothing to do with them? Were they fit to even deserve the vote on the previous occasion or they passed through by chance?

Was it by chance that President Museveni won elections in 2021 and on previous occasions? Going by the above hypothesis, it wasn’t. The first time it’s a chance, the second time an opportunity and the third time it’s a tendency. Beyond the third time, it’s mastery of the game. For that matter, if President Museveni returns on the ballot in 2026, he has more advantages than ever before and it can only be a phenomenal set of miscalculations on the side of his teams that would overturn the advantages.

One such phenomenal miscalculation would be if his party, NRM, the Presidency (where RDCs, RCCs and their Deputies belong) and Office of the National Chairman (ONC-Kyambogo) failed to work together to consolidate the gains and to mitigate the challenges arising.

This year 2024, the Presidency (under Minister Milly Babalanda), NRM led by Secretary General, Richard Todwong, ONC headed by Hajjati Hadijah Namyalo and other special purpose units must prioritise synchronisation of activities to maintain a clear advantage in the political arena.

2026 is around the corner but even if we were looking at 2031, it’s not all about elections but working as a team to meet the expectations of Ugandans in our daily office and field operations. When I am on the ground and I want, for instance, to see PDM succeed as I so much do, I am not interested in and cannot be diverted by acts of intrigue but work with everybody who is for the same aim. Achievement of the goal determines the compass direction.

Intrigue is betrayal of the mission and usually achieves nothing other than benefitting the opponents. An officer holding public office but engaged in acts of intrigue is unfit to hold that office or position. This is one way the Appointing Authority can determine who is unfit to serve in a given capacity. Intrigue is a form of corruption, as it means that the intriguer is using public office to engage in acts detrimental to the achievement of the objectives of Government. To say that promoters of intrigue should be “isolated and crushed” is an understatement underlining the urgency of housecleaning.

The NRM establishment is impervious to outside forces in as far as the history of the organisation as a revolutionary force matters. Therefore, it’s only by internal contradictions and own goals that NRM can be permeated and defeated. When you see upstart organisations chest thump and making inroads of any kind, it’s not that they have gained a revolutionary track record stronger than that of NRM.  It’s because they are counting on internal weaknesses and gaps, and they may have collaborators within.

Going forward, it should be all hands on board and it’s a good thing that when, on two separate occasions, I attended the 2023 end-of-year celebrations and prayers for Maama Janet’s health at ONC-Kyambogo, the message of unity and working together for success on all fronts was the byword while Hon. Babalanda has also reminded us of recent through a circular to harmonise with the ONC coordinators in our areas of jurisdiction in service delivery and mobilisation. These are commendable moves in the right direction and I thank our principals for this foresight which lends credibility to future milestones and lays ground for assured success at the rate of70% now.

Working together is integral in consolidating the gains of Liberation because that contributes a brick to building a Uganda we all cherish.

Happy Liberation Day and long live H.E Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Ugandans!

The author is the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Bushenyi

Contact: 0778738888

Email: 777aronda777@gmail.com

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