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NRM assures EU envoys of leveled political ground ahead of 2021 polls

NRM-O Secretary General Kasule Lumumba has reassured European Union (EU) of a level playing ground ahead of 2021 elections.(PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The NRM Secretary General, Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba, has assured European Union (EU) of a level playing ground ahead of 2021 elections.

She made the remarks on Monday, May 13, while meeting eight diplomats attached to different embassies in Uganda.

The delegation was led by Ms Anna Merrifield, the European Union Deputy Ambassador.

Other Deputy Ambassadors present included Clement Moutel (France) and Lorenza Gambacorta (Italy). The team also had six Political Officers that included Christian Palomaki (Denmark), Daniel Arhem (Sweden), Nicholas Rae (British High Commission), Theo Oltheten (The Netherlands), Roisin Carlos (European Union) and Frederic Lavis (Belgium).

Ms Lumumba told her guests that NRM intends to compile the Member Register and hold the internal primaries early enough to create ample time for addressing the post-election petitions. Tribunals to handle such petitions will be constituted on time, she said

Looking back at the 2016 polls, the Secretary-General disclosed that there were gaps in carrying out the civic education that led to high numbers of invalid and spoilt ballot papers. She said this role should not be left to the National Electoral Commission alone but the Political Parties as well.

The delegation demanded to know the involvement of the youth in the party operations and Ms Lumumba said NRM had such structures at all levels whose members participate in different activities that include monitoring the progress of govt programs.

About the clearance of a new political party led by Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu and the existence of the People Power pressure group, Ms Lumumba referred to both as being part of the NRM achievements. “NRM has created a conducive political atmosphere that has resulted into formation of new parties…Bobi Wine is a clear product of the NRM’s campaign of empowering the young people”, she explained. She added, “NRM is very accommodative even to those that disagree with us”.

Ms Lumumba further told her guests that there is a need to put in place clear laws to regulate the independents and spontaneous meetings. On the Public Order Management Act, she said the members were progressing well in ensuring that Police designates officers to receive notices for public meetings. The SG the move would save the political parties on the costs to the Police Headquarters in Naguru.

The Secretary-General further revealed that the Party was also putting pressure on the goverment to table the Electoral Reforms early enough and to fund the National Independent Electoral Commission in order to implement its electoral related activities on schedule.

Commenting on the recent UCC directive to different media houses, Ms Lumumba observed that its important for affected individuals to be held responsible other than punishing the entire media houses. She also called upon the international media to avoid focussing on the negatives alone but publicise the positive stories of the NRM govt as well. Lumumba said many NRM supporters were being intimidated by opposition members, especially during by-elections.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy National Treasurer, Dr. Kenneth Omona and the Director of Finance and Administration, Dr. Hassan Galiwango.

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