The dispute between two National Resistance Movement (NRM) party rivals Capt Mike Mukula and Mr Sanjay Tana, has deepened with the former petitioning President Museveni, alleging that his challenger, Mr Tana received foreign funding during the recently concluded party elections for Central Executive Committee (CEC) leaders.
Mr Mukula, who defeated Mr Tana in NRM national vice chairperson for eastern region election, further alleges that Mr Tana is not a member of NRM.
Since the CEC elections last month, Mr Tana and Mr Mukula have been trading accusations, drawing in the attention of the party chairperson, President Museveni.
Mr Tana was the first to petition Mr Museveni, the NRM chairperson, saying Capt Mukula rigged the elections and made racist attacks against him.
In the latest twist of events, Capt Mukula has denied the accusations but also counter-petitioned the President, claiming Mr Tana is an agent of foreign interests and has never been a member of the ruling party.
Mr Tana has dismissed Capt Mukula’s claims as empty and challenged him to present any evidence of his foreign funding and explain why the NRM has been allowing a ‘non–member’ to participate in previous party elections.
“Your Excellency, I have irrefutable evidence that my colleague and brother, Hon Sanjay Tanna, was heavily funded by the Indian community both in Uganda and beyond; and that I took the opportunity during the campaigns before the delegates to the National Conference to caution them against voting candidates who are backed by foreigners, whose interest in the internal elections of the National Resistance Movement’s top policy making organs, was unknown and remain suspect up to today,” Capt Mukula states in the petition to the President.
He did not substantiate his claims or cite any evidence to support them.
“What is the agenda of the backers of my brother, Hon Sanjay Tanna’s financiers in the internal elections of the NRM, and more so, the Central Executive Committee? Why is he quick to play the racial and sectarian cards as soon as he knows that I had exposed the source of his backers and funders? This is a signal that our security network and systems must take keen interest in,” he said.
Mr Tana too, in his earlier petition to the President, accused Capt Mukula of conniving with the NRM electoral commission and other party officials to rig the CEC elections.
Specifically, he accused Mukula of using racism and sectarianism, voter intimidation, and election malpractices and that the change of voting methodology from “lining up” as provided by the party constitution (as amended) to voting through “resolution by circulation” which he claims affected his votes, was allegedly hatched between the Mukula camp and the district NRM officials.
He alleged that the NRM electoral commission and Mr Mukula doctored the results, releasing them 12 hours after all the rest of the results across the country had been released.
“I did deny each and every particulars of allegation about racism and sectarianism, clearly pointing out that all the video recordings of my open campaigns were available for scrutiny,” Capt Mukula responded in his counter-petition to Museveni.
“I have challenged the petitioner therein to produce any evidence to support all his wild claims. The NRM Electoral Commission is yet to receive any proof of these allegations,” Capt Mukula added.
He also denied election irregularities and voter intimidation.
“There is, therefore, no legal or political basis for the overturn of the election results as openly declared by the NRM electoral commission that pronounced me winner in a contest for the position of NRM national vice chairperson for eastern region; and the petition should be dismissed accordingly,” Capt Mukula said.
“Sanjay Tanna is not a registered member of the National Resistance Movement party, even in Tororo Municipality where he has represented in Parliament,” Capt Mukula further alleged.
Mr Tana, however, said Capt Mukula is only seeking to meet the President.
“I have invited the auditors to come and audit my businesses, my bank accounts and my funding. However, Mukula must come out and explain how he funded the helicopters during the campaigns, the source of millions of shillings he paid to the party members during campaigns and those he paid on the day of voting instead of talking nonsense,” Mr Tana said.
Mr Tana also said he is a registered member of NRM in Tororo District where he participated in party elections from youth structures until he was elected MP.
“I have been a member of the presidential taskforce team for the last three elections, I am a registered member of the party in Tororo where I have been participating both in the district and municipality elections. During the elections, we even presented the NRM yellow book and my name was and is still there. So what is Mukula talking about?” Mr Tana said.