President Museveni yesterday formally confirmed his interest in running in next year’s presidential elections on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket when he picked nomination forms from the party headquarters.
The NRM electoral commission chairman, Dr Tanga Odoi, said: “The only person who has picked expression of interest forms and nomination forms for the presidential flag bearer as of 12:30pm this afternoon is President Museveni. He sent his personal lawyers who also picked forms for national chairperson.”
Dr Odoi said Mr Museveni, who is seeking a sixth elective term as president, paid Shs10m for nomination as presidential flag bearer and Shs10m as national NRM chairperson.
As of yesterday, former Makindye East MP John Ssimbwa as the only NRM member who had expressed interest in challenging Mr Museveni for the national chairperson seat.
Mr Museveni has since the resumption of multiparty politics in 2005 been elected the party’s national chairperson unopposed despite some incidents where challengers would show up but pull out shortly after.
Mr Ssimbwa said he is determined to go up to the end in challenging Mr Museveni for national chairperson in the National Delegates Conference slated for August 7 to 8.
By resolution, the district delegates will not travel for the usual conference to Mandela National Stadium Namboole due to the fear of the spread of Covid-19 but will give their endorsement through teleconferencing.
“I am ready to compete with the current national chairman of the party and I hope the process will be democratic. After picking the nomination forms, I now request the NRM Electoral Commission to give me the regulations and the list of the voters so that I start my mobilisation,” Mr Ssimbwa said.
He has premised his campaign on the fight against corruption and wasteful expenditure.
The process of picking expressions of interest and nomination forms for presidential flag bearer, national chairperson, First National Vice Chairperson, Second National Vice Chairperson and the six regional vice chairpersons ends tomorrow (Wednesday) ahead of the nominations scheduled for July 27 to 28.
If no one comes up to pick forms to challenge Mr Museveni by end of tomorrow, with the name already vetted by the Central Executive Committee between July 30 and August 5, he will formally be endorsed by the Delegates Conference as an unopposed NRM flag bearer on August 8.
Speaking at the launch of the NRM roadmap last week, Dr Odoi said the endorsement of Mr Museveni as a sole candidate by the different party organs last year needed to be put to a democratic test through the internal electoral processes to avoid possible litigation.
In January last year during a retreat at Chobe Safari Lodge in Nwoya District, CEC endorsed Mr Museveni as the party’s sole candidate for the 2021 General Election. The same proposal was endorsed by the NRM Parliamentary Caucus during a retreat at Kyankwanzi based National Leadership Institute mid-March last year.
Early this month, the Constitutional Court in a majority decision of 4-1 dismissed an application by party MPs, who had challenged the earlier endorsements of Mr Museveni’s sole candidature.
The suit was filed by 11 MPs who were challenging the decision of the CEC to endorse Mr Museveni as sole presidential candidate for 2021 General Election.
The case was headed by a panel of Constitutional Court Justices led by acting Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo. Others were; Cheborion Barishaki, Kenneth Kakuru, Christopher Izama Madrama and Egonda Ntende.
The MPs who challenged the endorsement are; Theodore Ssekikubo ( Lwemiyaga County), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County), Patrick Oshabe Nsamba (Kassanda North), Mbwatatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya County), Samuel Lyomoki (Workers MP), Silvia Akello, (Otuke district), Susan Amero (Amuria Woman MP), James Acidri (Maracha East County) and Bildad Moses Adome (Jie County).
Some of these MPs had voted against the amendment of Article 102b of the Constitution to remove the Presidential age limit and after being treated as “rebel MPs”, they met Mr Museveni last week and agreed to work with NRM.