The national delegates conference of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) was held at each of the district headquarters to approve endorsement of President Museveni as national chairperson and presidential flag bearer.
The elections, held by circular resolution where delegates voted by signing or thumbprinting in a book against the photos of candidates also confirmed Mr Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo as first national vice chairperson.
The conference also elected the second national vice chairperson (female) and the six regional vice chairpersons for Karamoja, eastern, northern, western, central and Kampala region.
The highly competitive process attracted a total of 26 candidates vying for the different positions in the party’s top leadership.
Of all the other positions, it was the race for vice chairperson for Karamoja region that never got tense but ended up as a friendly campaign between the incumbent, Mr Simon Peter Aleper, and his sole rival, Mr Jimmy Lokoro Tebanyang.
Kadaga Vs Namuganza
According to results declared by the NRM Electoral Commission Chairman Dr Tanga Odoi, this morning, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, scored 6,776 votes against the State Minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza’s 3,882 votes; for the second national vice chairperson slot.
The two have not had kind words for each other during the campaigns with Ms Namuganza riding on her youthful age as a reason to oust the 62-year-old Kadaga.
At some point early this week, while campaigning in Busoga, Ms Kadaga suggested that the Bukono County MP, Ms Namuganza should have contested for the chairperson of NRM youth league if she wanted to sit in the CEC.
Ms Kadaga used her experience and exposure to rally support from delegates to continue to be the voice of the women in the NRM top policy making organ. She outlined her work record in the fight for gender equity, the fight against female genital mutilation and promoting girl-child education.
Ms Namuganza on the other hand, moved around the country accusing the Speaker of being hostile to the party.
She highlighted Ms Kadaga’s decision to allow MPs move and pass a motion expressing displeasure in President Museveni in May over his attack on Parliament in regard to the Shs10 billion that the legislators shared from the Covid-19 supplementary budget.
Oulanyah Vs Engola
It was another bull fight for the position of vice chairperson for northern Uganda, an area that the NRM has since pulled off from the Opposition after the end of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oalanyah scored 7,473 votes against the incumbent Sam Engola’s 1,665 votes. Timothy Okee Jokene got 895 votes while Dr Odongo Oledo ganered only 277 votes.
Mr Oulanyah premised his campaign on using his legal practice experience to influence policy making in CEC. He said sitting in the chair while presiding over plenary of Parliament, he could see a lot of loopholes in some of the legislations being brought by the government. He also told delegates that he had waited patiently for five years after being persuaded by President Museveni in 2015 to step down for Mr Engola.
He said it is time for the Acholi Sub-region to take the lead, claiming there was a consensus on rotational leadership.
On the other hand, Mr Engola, who described the Deputy Speaker as a “visitor who must wait longer in the sitting room” having crossed from Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) in 2006, promised to consolidate the performance of NRM in Northern Uganda.
Wherever he went, Mr Engola told the delegates that his record in the party includes negotiating the peace deal with LRA in Sudan and that he wants to grow the support of the party which he helped take root in the region.
Mukula Vs Tana
The battle for the vice chairperson for eastern Uganda attracted four people against incumbent Capt Mike Mukula. But after the CEC vetting, he only had the former Tororo Municipality MP, Mr Sanjay Tana and Ms Christine Hariet Akello as his competitors.
By press time, with results from 16 districts yet to be tallied, the incumbent, Capt Mike Mukula, had got 5,818 votes against his closest rival Sanjay Tana who had 4,162 votes. Akello Christine the other candidate in the race had 162 votes.
Capt Mukula built his campaign on his efforts to wipe out the Opposition in Teso Sub-region by reducing the number of their MPs from 16 in 2006 to 10 in 2011 and to three in 2016.
“As I speak now, even the three have left FDC. So, Teso has been liberated,” said Capt Mukula while campaigning at the party headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday.
Mr Mukula reminded the NRM delegates of his record in fighting for peace by mobilising the Arrow Boys to fight the LRA in Teso, participating in disarmament of the Karimajong and also leading a government team to Washington, US to convince Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere to return home ahead of his recognition.
Mr Tana explained his contribution to the socio-economic development of eastern region by setting up businesses which employ at least 1,000 youths and promised to use the CEC position to boost his efforts in attracting foreign investment to the country.
Nyakana, Singh, Uhuru
The battle for vice chairperson for greater Kampala region attracted the former Rubaga North MP, Mr Singh Katongole, and Mr Salim Uhuru, to challenge incumbent Mr Godfrey Nyakana.
The one who wins Kampala is expected to play a key role in uprooting the Opposition parties that are in control at most levels.
Katongole scored 4,503 votes against Nyakana’s 2,665 votes. Salim Uhuru came third with 2,466 votes.
Mr Nyakana told the delegates that his focus was to continue leading so that he wrests Kampala from the hands of the Opposition in the next General Election. The former World Boxing Champion in the Commonwealth Games bragged of having the best skills in management and with such he was able to deliver victory for the NRM.
For Mr Uhuru, the campaign to dislodge Mr Nyakana was based on what he has done for the party. He told delegates across the country that as the chairman of NRM in Kampala Central Division, he has been paying for the party offices for six years and also opened a coordinating office in Kiseka Market, which is the “hot spot for the Opposition” in the Central Business District. He promised to end discrimination and racism in Kampala by ensuring co-existence among the people irrespective of their political affiliation, race and religions.
Mr Singh Katongole focused his campaign on revamping fundraising for the NRM tower, claiming the idea was put under the pillow after he left as Deputy National Treasurer for the party in 2013.
During the tallying of votes at the party’s EC head offices at Kyadondo Road last evening, a fist fight ensued between Mr Nyakana and Mr Uhuru after the former stormed the venue.
Dr Tanga called in security to separate the two candidates before ordering them out of the gate. “The election process is not about fighting. It is a process for the whole country and it can not end in the boxing ring,” Dr Tanga said.
Before driving out, Mr Nyakana told Journalists that he stormed the EC offices after being told that his competitor, Mr Uhuru had poured in supporters who intimidated his agents.
But, Mr Uhuru denied any wrongdoing and promised to support whoever wins to mobilise for the party.
Kyaligonza Vs Baryomunsi
The Uganda Ambassador to Burundi, Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza, faced six people in the battle to retain his seat as vice chairperson for western region. Despite the region recording the highest number of contestants, the battle was mainly between him and the State Minister for Housing, Dr Chris Baryomunsi.
Chris Baryomunsi defeated the incumbent Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza with 5,947 votes against 2,550. In the same race, Florence Kintu Tumwine came third with 1,875, followed by Muhangi Wilberforce with 1,255 votes, Boaz Kafuda fifth with 602 votes and Dr Diini Kisembo with 224 votes.
Unlike his competitors, Gen Kyaligonza did not traverse the whole country to look for votes. In his campaign, Gen Kyaligonza boasted of his history as a freedom fighter since the 1970s, adding that he was to promote the continuity of NRM. He described himself as a man who is “morally clear of any wrongdoing” and is not “corrupt”.
However, since his nomination to run for the position last month, Dr Baryomunsi has been accusing Gen Kyaligonza of “abandoning mobilisation in the region” since he is full time on diplomatic mission in Bujumbura. He argued that most CEC meetings have gone without issues of Western Uganda being tabled.
He also questioned the public contact of Gen Kyaligonza after he was cast in the spotlight for assaulting a female traffic police officer on duty in Mukono District in February last year.
For vice chairman Buganda region, Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi, the State Minister for Tourism, took the day after defeating his closest challenger Moses Karangwa Kalisa. Kiwanda got 4,749 votes against Karangwa’s 3,701. Other contestants in the race were Kiganda Twaha Ssonko who got 1,048 votes, Mayengo Moses who got 127 votes and Magaro John 675.