M7 PA BABALANDA SPEAKS ON ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ONGOING VERIFICATION OF COORDINATORS UNDER ONC
By Mulengera Reporters
The Office of the National Chairman (ONC) of NRM, based at Kyambogo, is in the process of screening its team of coordinators to weed out impersonators who had infiltrated the network with hidden motives. Mulengera News spoke to Ms Milly Babirye Babalanda, the Senior Presidential Adviser and Personal Assistant to President Yoweri Museveni, about this major exercise. Below are the excerpts:
QN: Who are these coordinators being talked about?
ANS: Coordinators are special mobilisers under the Office of the National Chairman of NRM, who is President Yoweri Museveni. They are political mobilisers working on a voluntary basis.
QN: Voluntary? Why are people jostling to take up those positions then?
ANS: These are people who want to see continuity in the stability, progress and transformation that the NRM government and party have brought to Uganda. They will fight to maintain these attributes of President Museveni’s great leadership.
QN: How do they operate and where are they based?
ANS: They are a bridge between the government and the wanainchi. As you may be aware, government has done a lot but few people speak about those achievements. Locals in the villages don’t know the things that have been done in the countryside. It is therefore easy to poison the minds of people and lie to them that NRM has done nothing. When pictures of good roads are posted on social media, for example, those posting claim that they are from South Africa, China or Europe. Then they pick photos of muddy roads from Congo or Ghana and post them claiming that they were taken in Kampala. There is a lot of deception and misinformation. We realized how easy it was to point people on the way of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia; how people were incited to rise up and plunge their countries into problems. Our coordinators are patriotic Ugandans bridging the gap of information between government and the people, the top and the bottom. They deliver direct messages from the National Chairman to the grassroots. They also feed the National Chairman with intelligence and feedback they gather from the grassroots. It’s a two-way operation of information sharing. Under Chapter 4 of the NRM Constitution, the National Chairman is the Chief Implementer, Supervisor and Spokesperson of the party. To perform that duty, he needs a team to work with and that is what the coordinators constitute.
QN: Don’t they duplicate the work of other officials?
ANS: With intelligence and information gathering, many channels are used. They fill gaps left due to the volume of work.
QN: How many coordinators work with the ONC and how were they identified for appointment?
ANS: Being that ours is a political office, we receive a lot of volunteers who want to serve. They are at regional (zonal), sub-regional, district, sub-county, parish and village levels. We skill and train some of those who express interest in working with us to promote the National Chairman’s ideology. We have no capacity to skill all but those who acquire skills (in leadership and mobilization) are sent down to help train others in the structure. Politics is like religion: you continue preaching and reminding people of their faith and responsibilities.
QN: Tell us about the ongoing vigorous verification! What is at stake?
ANS: As I have said, volunteers keep coming to us. We can’t chase them away. However, a challenge has come up where anyone who comes to our office thinks he or she is attached to it and begins to use the name. We identified particular people to work with directly, but there are so many who wish to be attached to our office. So, they use that link to act as coordinators without any formal authorization yet this is a sensitive office.
We didn’t grow up with these people, so they have varying habits. We have got reports from His Excellency the National Chairman, NRM chairpersons, police commanders and members of the Central Executive Committee (C.E.C) on the questionable habits of some of those who illegally call themselves coordinators. They are tarnishing the name of the genuine coordinators. They are supposed to be exemplary and to reflect the image of their chief supervisor, the National Chairman.
QN: How are you pacifying the situation?
ANS: So, on 1st February 2020, the National Chairman, who is also the head-of-state, directed that we clean up the network. With rotten politics, some act as if they are part of NRM but with a hidden agenda. Since we identified some coordinators by referral at the grassroots, we do not fully know all of them. The cleanup will ensure that we only remain with those that believe in the party with all their heart, mind and energy.
QN: What are some of the bad habits that you have come across?
ANS: Cases include misuse of titles to clash with other officials, conning politicians and aspirants, and so on. Most cases are not very serious but we want a perfect team to portray a perfect image of the principal.
QN: Who is carrying out the verification?
ANS: Many teams will help us in this exercise. These will include security agencies and RM local leaders [I communities where verification will be taking place].
QN: These days, NRM teams are working together. What is the secret behind this?
ANS: NRM has to be one; everyone has to come together for the common interests of the party since all work for the party.
QN: Isn’t it because of the threat of opposition?
ANS: NRM has had the culture of cliques for long. It takes time to remove that culture. Now we are on the right track. The thing that has bothered His Excellency the National Chairman for long is disunity. The genesis of NRM can be traced to combatants whose discipline the civilians now in charge of NRM have found difficult to emulate. Instilling that discipline has been a process but we are beginning to see results. This is good for NRM as we head into 2021.
QN: There are changes going on at the Office of the National Chairman which some have termed as unprecedented and groundbreaking. Why now?
ANS: Changes are normal in a functional organization and they depend on individual performance and team objectives. The whole team is supervised by the National Chairman who has directed a review of the teams to ensure effective delivery on the objectives of the office. (For more information about this ongoing verification exercise, contact the NRM National Chairman Gen YK Museveni’s Personal Assistant Ms Milly Doka Babalanda directly on 0772316632 or 0702119632).