Lawyer: Door still open for NRM presidential aspirants

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party lawyer, Kiryowa Kiwanuka has told the constitutional court that there is still chance for any of their members to challenge president, Yoweri Museveni for the party card ahead of the 2021 polls.

According to Kiwanuka, based on the party’s political roadmap which was released in January this year, there is space for those who want to contest for the party’s top most position and the NRM flag for the 2021 presidential elections.

He was responding to a Constitutional Court petition filed by 11 NRM leaning Members of Parliament challenging a resolution by the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) endorsing Museveni as the party’s sole presidential for the 2021 elections and beyond.

MPs Theodore Ssekikubo  (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga  West), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Patrick Oshabe Nsamba (Kassanda North), Mbwatatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya), Samuel Lyomoki  (Workers), Silvia Akello (Otuke Woman), Susan Amero (Amuria), James Acidri (Maracha East) and  Bildad Moses Adome (Jie).

In their petition, the legislators contend that the CEC resolution is inconsistent with several articles of the country’s constitution as well as the NRM constitution.

They also contend that the decision by the NRM Chief Whip who is also the chairperson of the NRM Parliamentary caucus to block them from attending the seven-day retreat in Kyankwanzi in March was arbitrary since they were never given a fair hearing.
Kiryowa Kiwanuka  however told the panel of five Constitutional Court Judges led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo that the NRM party Constitution is very clear on whoever wants to contest for the party ticket.

He asked court to dismiss the evidence presented on flash disk by the legislators implicating the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa for barring them from attending the party meeting at Chobe Safari Lodge where Museveni was endorsed as sole NRM presidential candidate.

He said the evidence isn’t transcribed and therefore can’t meet the required Standards under the Electronic and Transactions Act.

Kiwanuka argued that the Electoral Commission should have been the one to lodge a complaint in court if the NRM hadn’t complied with some of its constitutional provisions in line with the Political Parties and Organizations Act.