KAMPALA – The NRM legislators who were denied invites to the party retreat at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi have threatened to sue the party for their continued sidelining them from party activities.
The team led by Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), James Acidri (Maracha County) John Baptist Nambeshe (Majiya County) and Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North) protested the decision to block them from the retreat yet they haven’t faced any disciplinary challenge before the party’s disciplinary committee, saying the move smells of some NRM members attempting to hijack the party.
Mr. Ssekikubo kicked off the rebuke by condemning what he termed the hijacking of the party warning that any party that is doomed has the hardliners, the extremists taking over, wondering what the criteria NRM used to deem him bad and other members wrong.
“Who tells you that I am bad? We are ready to invoke all the necessary measures so that this creping dictatorship doesn’t arise in the party,” Mr. Ssekikubo said.
He said that all that the ‘rebel MPs’ seek is to put forward our ideas and engagement wondering why they should be punished for having dissenting views, yet they haven’t been summoned for any disciplinary challenge and none of them has been booked for any offence.
Mr. Ssekikubo pointed out Ms. Ruth Nankabirwa, expressing shock at the conduct of the Government Chief Whip saying she should have led the party as Government Chief Whip but is rather acting contrary to the expectations of her job.
He said; “We have encountered a situation where we have limited intellectual debate and deficiencies in the party and I call them deficiencies because this isn’t normal. If at all they feel they have superior debate and argument, I want to challenge them for debate.”
“If they have superior ideas, then our shallow ideas wouldn’t arise but the fact that they are running away, we have never seen the President in retreat like he is in now, President Museveni running away from debate, closing out people because we weren’t meant to eat the biggest meat in Kyankwanzi,” added Mr. Ssekikubo.
The remarks of the team follow a pronouncement by Margaret Muhanga, NRM Causus spokesperson while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Center where she named six MPs that were banned from participating in the retreat, on grounds that these had acted against the welfare of the party.
While addressing the press at Parliament, the rebel MPs argued that they had abandoned their move to confront the retreat in Kyankwanzi and are considering taking legal action against the party, questioning why they should be punished for voting against the lifting of the presidential age limit in 2017, yet all they did was to represent views of their voters.
Mr. Tinkasimiire also weighed into the subject wondering the special subject NRM was set to discuss that saw the party block him from taking part in the discussion.
He described Muhanga’s action of citing out their names as character assassination and refuted her claims that only six rebel MPs had been banned from attending the retreat arguing that 21 MPs were banned because of failure to endorse the lifting of presidential age limit.
Mr. Tinkasimiire added that NRM isn’t Museveni and that he is a card holder and vowed not to allow Museveni to continue ruling past 35 years, saying the President is morally expired to rule this country, even in terms of ideas.
“They only invited a few persons simply because I voted for my people. Would have chosen as bonafide members of the party we would have gone to confront them in the party, in any case if we wanted, they would have found us there. We have chosen that since they took the path of darkness, we can’t use darkness to fight them, we leave them, let Ugandans judge,” fumed Mr. Tinkasimiire.
New kid on the block, Mr. Acidri said that although his name wasn’t among those read at Media Center, he wasn’t invited despite being in the 10th Parliament on the NRM ticket, and blamed this on insisting to voted what his people requested him to, arguing that this qualifies him to be more than a rebel, but a bandit.
“When people power begins to leave you and those who emphasis people power are deemed rebels, you are heading wrong direction. It is already an indication of shrinking space of democracy within mass party,” said Mr. Acidri.
Bududa’s Nambeshe questioned on what grounds they were banned from the retreat yet they have never been summoned for any disciplinary action by any party organs, “We are condemned and victimized because of refusal to remove presidential age limit. We were shocked to hear our names at media centre as rebels and earlier we had been labeled by Party Chairpersons as parasites. They have an agenda with artillery motive to change voting methods they are mooting plan to introduce parliamentary system which gives them power to appoint who should be MP in particular constituency.”