NRM DEFIES BYABAKAMA: HOLDS RALLY OF MORE THAN 70 PEOPLE AT KOLOLO NEAR EC HEAD/QRTS
By Isaac Wandubile
During his Thursday news conference, EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama decreed that no political rallies or gatherings of more than 70 people would be accepted because doing so would increase ordinary Ugandans’ exposure to COVID19 infections. In a story Mulengera News comprehensively documented (https://mulengeranews.com/ec-illegalizes-rallies-of-more-than-70-people-as-rdcs-police-get-more-powers-over-2021-polls/), Byabakama said police would be justified to crack the whip against such political actors breaching such crowd-related restrictions which EC publicist Paul Bukenya says were verified and passed as necessary and adequate by the Ministry of Health and the national COVID19 taskforce.
Today Friday, just hours after the Byabakama press conference, the ruling NRM became the first to breach the same and this was at Kololo airstrip which is just a stone throw away from EC’s Jinja Road office where Byabakama proclaimed his decrees from. It’s a contradiction which journalists brought to the attention of Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo’s daughter Faridah Nambi who was the chief convener for the Kololo event which was attended by hundreds of NRM flag bearers for Kampala and their supporters from all the 5 City Divisions.
Faridah Nambi, who is also the NRM candidate for Kampala Woman MP, explained that they are aware of the EC restrictions which Byabakama said required organizers of such meetings to specially secure permission from his Returning Officers in every district. Nambi said they had consulted the Kampala police leadership and obtained special permission for their rally. She didn’t disclose why they didn’t equally notify and secure permission of the Kampala RO as was decreed by Byabakama. Security was visible at the Kololo event, not to disperse the gathering as hundreds of PP/NUP social media users demanded throughout the day, but to provide security for the congregants. FDC publicist Semujju Nganda says this is why the EC risks being defied everywhere regarding its crowd restrictions “because there is no way you are going to tell me it’s only the opposition gatherings that are susceptible to COVID19.”
Nambi says that NRM leaders are self-disciplined which is why they incurred expenses to fumigate the venue on good time and ensure conspicuous display of masks at their Kololo event unlike some of the opposition leaders who haven’t been good examples when it comes to wearing masks. She says that in any case, the idea isn’t strictly adhering to the 70 congregants but ensuring adequate physical spacing between those who have congregated. Speaking through Margaret Zziwa of Nakawa West, the NRM flag bearers pleaded with guest of honor Godfrey Kiwanda to inform President Museveni about the need to split some villages in Kampala because they are too big to be adequately covered by the 20 campaigners the party intends to facilitate for each of the 68,700 villages we have in Uganda.
They also demanded a private meeting with Gen Museveni from whom they must directly obtain campaign logistics like money required to print more posters, facilitate their mobilizers and regular media appearances on radio and TVs. NRM national treasurer Rose Namayanja, who represented SG Kasule Lumumba, agreed this intervention was necessary because being a strictly scientific exercise, winning the 2021 elections in especially hostile areas like Kampala will require adequately facilitating and empowering party structures.
Zziwa also implored Kiwanda to inform Gen Museveni not to deploy outsiders to go into their respective constituencies to spearhead his reelection campaigns because such acts neutralize the office of flag bearer and demoralize loyalists serving in party structures besides breeding intrigue in the party. Similar flag bearer meetings are going to be intensified in other districts in Buganda region whose NRM chairman Godfrey Kiwanda was unanimously thanked for the enthusiasm and hard work he has put into mobilization aimed at reawakening the ruling party support in the politically very influential region which PP/NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu claims to be his stronghold.
The meetings will be focused on many things including emboldening leaders and cadres in NRM structures so that they can continue to fearlessly face off with PP/NUP militants who keep saying “twakoowa.” At the Kololo event, Kiwanda accused such PP/NUP militants of being ideologically disoriented saying “they decampaign our baby-faced President Museveni because they don’t even understand the difference between biology [referring to old age] and ideology.” He claimed many key Kyagulanyi officials have been approaching him saying “it’s betrayal for you to support an old man like Museveni at the expense of Kyagulanyi who is your fellow youth.”All photos by Fregence Gumura. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).