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NRM party youth primaries was not an election – Justine Nameere

On October 10, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) held primaries to elect the party flag bearer for central region Youth MP and parliamentary flag bearers for special interest groups.

Unlike in the past where voting was by done by the electoral colleges gathered in one place, this time round, due to Covid-19, the elections were held at the respective 30 districts that make up the Central Region (Buganda). The five different city divisions of Kampala were considered as districts in this election, which brings the number to 30 districts.

Youth MPs are voted by an electoral college, which votes on behalf of millions of youth across the country to represent different regions.

In the case of NRM, the party Youth League structure elects flag bearers for regional Youth MPs. The specific number of voters are five district executive members and each of the sub-county chairpersons as well as five municipality executive members. Therefore, the voters in the just concluded election were about 478 in total.

However, the biggest dark spot in the recently concluded NRM primaries for central region Youth MP was the unparalleled fraud and violence that determined the final winner. It was not the vote that determined the central region Youth MP seat. The NRM youth mafia took over the process and decided the final outcome.

The mafia used violence, intimidation, bribery, swapping of results, sex and extortions, and abuse of the NRM chairman’s name to blackmail candidates and voters about government programmes such as Emyooga, among others.

The mafia gang comprised some NRM youth leaders and their proxies in various districts in central region/Buganda.

The central region NRM party primaries on October 10 cannot be called an election. It was a vote and sex auction with brokers dictating the price. The mafia gang were brokering between voters, candidates and NRM registrars.

They would scout a candidate who could agree to salary share contract with them upon going to Parliament. This is how the extortion would work.

The lead mafia would ask a candidate to sign an agreement indicating that they have lent that candidate money and that upon becoming MP, he or she will pay them 25 per cent of his/her monthly salary for the five-years in Parliament. They have lawyers who draft the contract. In exchange, they would promise to bless your candidature and assure you of victory.

Their mafia gang leader approached me with this extortionist deal if they were to bless my candidature. I rejected it. Then the hostility against me ensued in earnest. Many aspirants were taken through this roller-coaster ride of blackmail and extortion. Many aspirants fell prey to this mafia, but others rejected their trickery. Besides the extortion, the mafia sometimes demanded sex in exchange for endorsing a person’s candidature.

Such was the level of unfairness and fraud that rendered the NRM Youth elections in central region a complete sham and mockery of democracy, far removed from the NRM ideology.

The elections were decided on the basis of money and sex transactions. I cannot be party to such a scam. President and NRM chairman Museveni must interest himself in checking this blackmail and impunity eating up the party.

Recently, the NRM secretary general, Kasule Lumumba, told the chairman to fight impunity in the party. She was right.

I want to caution the NRM party and chairman that unless this mafia is checked, they will extend this blackmail beyond individuals to government, the party and the chairman himself and claim that the party cannot win over the youth vote unless they use their mafia gang structures.

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