Constitutional amendments, purging dissent key on NRM chiefs retreat agenda

Members of the Central Executive Committee  (CEC), the second top most organ of the ruling National Resistance Movement  (NRM) went into a retreat on Friday at Chobe Safari Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park, to discuss the future of the party, and as well plot for the continuation of Yoweri Museveni’s presidency.

The five-day retreat formally kicks off on Saturday morning under the chairmanship of Museveni – the party’s national chairman who is expected to present two papers on ideology and strategy.

Museveni arrived at Chobe on Friday evening, hours after the arrival of other CEC members, some of whom travelled in the yellow NRM buses.

Museveni (L) is received by NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba at Chobe Safari Lodge on Friday

Among those present are; Hajji Moses Kigongo (1st National Vice Chairperson), Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (2nd National Vice Chairperson), Prime Minister Ruhankana Rugunda (Historical Member), Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza (Western Region), Mike Mukula (Eastern Region), Sam Engola (Northern Region) and Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi (Veterans representative).

Others are; Godfrey Nyakana (Kampala Region), Simon Aleper (Karamoja Region), Gabriel Kato (PWD Representative), Gidudu Mafabi (Elderly representative), James Tweheyo (Workers representative), Huda Oleru (Special Nominee) and Hajji Nasur Gadafi (Youths).

The Chobe retreat is a follow-up meeting of an earlier retreat held late last year at Igongo Cultural Centre and Hotel near Mbarara.

During this retreat, the CEC members are expected to agree on a number of proposals for the amendment of both the party and national Constitutions aimed at giving Museveni a grip over party leaders.

Museveni intends to exert his control over MPs through an amendment on how the lawmakers get elected to Parliament although some of the proposals are already facing resistance from within.

The retreat is expected to come up with proposals that will make NRM primaries more credible and minimise cases of losers in the party primaries running as Independents.

Key among the proposals for amending the NRM constitution is the replacement of a secret ballot in the party primaries with lining up behind candidates.