‘Rebel’ MPs seek legal redress; accuse party leadership of promoting factionalism
As members of the NRM parliamentary caucus headed out to the Kyankwanzi based National Leadership Institute (NALI) for the week-long retreat, some of the MPs who were locked out of the retreat indicated that they are planning to institute legal proceedings against the party leadership.
NRM caucus spokesperson Margaret Muhanga on Monday announced that five MPs namely, Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), Patrick Nsmaba Oshabe (Kassanda North), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya) and Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman) – commonly referred to as rebel MPs would not be allowed to attend the retreat.
Today, the ‘rebel’ MPs joined by their Maracha East counterpart, James Acidri and some unnamed others convened a meeting in which they agreed to sue the party leadership for acting in breach of their party Constitution.
“We stand to condemn the hijacking of the party. Any party that is doomed has the hardliners, extremists taking over and this is what we have been saying and telling everybody that President Museveni could not tolerate this but with time when you see him condescending, allowing factions within the party, shrinking political space in the pace and at the national level,” Ssekikubo said during a press conference at Parliament.
Reading from Chapter 3 of the NRM Constitution, the MPs said that the “growing form of unconstitutionalism” in the party cannot go unchallenged.
“We decided to take the party leadership to Court to challenge this act of illegally blocking us from participating in party activities yet we are fully subscribed members. We have never been summoned before any party organ which has the mandate of disciplining any errant members,” said Nambeshe.
“The constitution allows us to exercise our fundamental rights to associate and express our views. This is unconstitutional and a total contradiction of what took Museveni to the bush to fight against,” Nambeshe added.
According to Tinkasiimire, while Muhanga read out only five names of the uninvited MPs, the number is much bigger.
“Naming the five was only character assassination but 21 of our group members have not been invited to attend the retreat and we are all being accused of voting in favour of the demands of our constituents during the age limit amendment bill,” Tinkasimire said.
At total of 27 NRM MPs voted with the Opposition in December 2017 against the amendment of the cConstitution to remove presidential term limits.
“I associate myself to the decision of my colleagues to drag the leadership to court for denying our right to associate as caucus members. This act shows the shrinking space of democracy and the lack of right to express varrying views,” Acidri said.
“In a party which is full of contradictions with no room for open debate, I rather be called a rebel or a bandit,” he added.
Ssekikubo accused the party leadership of taking the party to a point where there is limited intellectual debate in party.