OPINION: Bulambuli NRM slow slide into crisis


By Bwayo Geoffrey

Bulambuli National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party members are in a bitter clash of interests, values and directions due to an overbearingly corrupt and delinquent leadership of Mr. Kimamati Paul, the district party chairman, a situation that might shake the current status quo.

This recorded failure is partly caused by poor internal discussions with the team and deliberately cultivated conflicts with other party leaders. This has left the party floundering without direction that has propagated different factions to the extent of almost fighting at court on Monday, 20th February ,2023 over the unfair charge and treatment of the former secretary general Mr. Wepukhulu Charles Wetuma. The demonstrations showed dissatisfaction with the chairman as an intemperate leader.

Bwayo Geoffrey is the chairman NRM PWDs Buwanyanga Sub County

In 2016, Paul was elected as party chairman replacing the late William Masolo. The late had together with his team tirelessly mobilized and transformed the then greater Sironko district into an NRM strong base ousting Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

All went well then until the new leadership disregarded the mainstream team and ‘created’ another which had nothing in common with the party ideals.

With this team, the chairman has ‘ruled’ supremely solo shedding all pretense of cordiality with his team as if he is an antagonist cultivated by some powerful individual to clear his/her opponents in the dark and smooth the road forward. In the current Bulambuli under his leadership and connections, any dissenters can only dare to be angry, but don’t dare to speak.

It is in this spirit that the former district NRM Secretary General Wepukhulu Charles Wetuma was arrested and charged in courts of law on account of the chairman’s confidant Mr. Mwanga Steven following former’s call for accountability in the affairs of the tractor (now grounded in sorry state), Harrow plough, Planter and disc plough (which are now in Bududa district), and a trailer that is with Mrs. Cate Nafuna Gudoi. Which assets have been in his possession use since 2017.

In 2013, Mr. Museveni patronized the district party mobilizers with a tractor UAP 573K fully mounted with a planter, plough and a trailer. This was after a group of distinguished NRM Mobilizers that included Masolo William, Wamburu Sam, Kuloba Sam, Daliya Nengone Wadada, Festo Shibuta Khakyehe, Mwanga Steven, Wepukhulu Charles, Cate Nafuna Gudoi, the late Geoffrey Mayeku, the late Betty Neumbe Mukota and Wamayi Silaji among others requested the president to support Blambuli with two (2) tractors complete with all the accessories.

While this tractor was donated, the president’s office directed that the beneficiaries legalize their existences under which the ownership would be passed. On this account, the mobilizers agreed and authorized the creation of Bulambuli Modern Farmers group that was headed by the late Masolo William as chairperson and the district NRM secretary General Wepukhulu Charles Wetuma as secretary.

It is on account of this ownership that the members represented by their secretary requested for accountability in the affairs of the group assets. However, the chairman with the support of a powerful individual was even more unbridled to the extent of silencing them.

This same attitude has unfortunately reactivated two antagonistic powerful factions that were long created in Bulambuli under his fanning. The Annet Nandudu (Moyo Ndagano chairperson LCV Bulambuli)-Mudimi Inyasio Womakuyu (MP Elgon County)-Nambozo Sarah Wekomba (former woman MP NRM leaning) factions; and the Kimamati Paul-Irene Muloni Nafuna-Wonanzofu Simon faction.

These two factions don’t see eye-to-eye and have affected the normal functioning of the party in the district. Because of this, the women council elections were terribly affected on account that their facilitation was diverted leaving deep scars in process. All born, nurtured and matured under his skewed leadership.

What hurts the party supporters most is that he is motivated to accumulate wealth while disregarding the higher ideals of the party such as accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. It is public knowledge that the tractor that was given as a grant is deliberately grounded to necessitate its sale. And that there is no other justifiable reason other than out right sale or rent of the planter, harrow plough, trailer and disc plough which are currently not with the chairman. The dissenters have sworn not to back off.

Could it be that he assumed office without any experience of managing a party organization? The fear thus created, the uncalled for conflicts has hindered smooth working, likely to create more competing coalitions, create spoilers for candidates and reduce productivity. And might lead to long-term problems for party prosperity, as well as short-term failures due to a lack of synergy.

Reflecting this with scenarios similar, the experience in American presidency, dissents; seen as “spoilers” for candidates in mainstream parties; had a negative impact. After serving two terms in the White House as a Republican, President Theodore Roosevelt ran under the Bull Moose Party banner in 1912. He lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson but finished ahead of Republican candidate William Howard Taft). In 1948, Strom Thurmond ran as the segregationist States’ Rights candidate.

He won some votes in the South but not nearly enough to beat Harry Truman. A similar story played out in 1968: George Wallace, running as a the American Independent Party candidate, won five states in the South – the last candidate not running as a Democrat or Republican to win any electoral votes. More recently, Ross Perot, in 1992, and Ralph Nader, in 2000, came to embody this perception of third-party candidates. Perot won a sizable chunk of the vote, nearly 19%, but no electoral votes. And Nader, who ran as the Green Party candidate, became persona non grata among some Democrats, who blamed him for stealing votes from Al Gore after the former vice president narrowly lost Florida.

This could happen here as well pitting spoiler candidates against genuine candidates in the district that may be disastrous for the party.

Bulambuli NRM leadership is in urgent need of administrative changes to give people realistic hope and to prevent a slide into serious crisis. The higher-ups should intervene and ensure accountability of the president’s donated tractor and its accessories. This could restore sanity in the affairs of the party in the district; assure genuine commitment and an understanding that everyone is entitled to a different point of view. Only this will make members feel valued and respected. Otherwise, there is a looming disaster in the future.

Bwayo Geoffrey is the chairman NRM PWDs Buwanyanga Sub County and a key opinion leader in the Elgon Zone; 0781519994

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