OPINION: Why there’s confusion and low turn-up in the ongoing NRM Register Update Exercise

By Enyalu Julius

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) is currently updating its party register and admitting new members to the party in preparations for the much-anticipated party structure elections next year and the party primaries.

However, the exercise which kicked off on Wednesday, 13 March 2024 has so far been characterized by numerous challenges ranging from internal political bickering and reluctance from the targeted members of the community.

From what I know so far, some villages don’t have the new registers, some people their names have been deliberately deleted from the old registers, and in some places I have reached in Teso, the NRM registrars are said to be on strike among other challenges which are hindering the smooth running of the exercise.

It should be noted that the NRM party has never had a party register since 2015 when Amama Mbabazi was the Secretary General of the party.

After the launch of the exercise last month by the national chairman, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the party Secretariat went ahead and released a revised roadmap for the register cleaning in preparations for the party structures elections, a decision which CEC guided otherwise.

This confusion alone between the Secretariat and CEC is one of the factors that have left many party members confused, hence the low turn-up.

It should also be noted that the involvement of ONC in the exercise is not welcomed fully by some members of the party Secretariat in that the ONC seems to be checking the Secretariat hence making some party officials sit back and watch from a distance for fear of being exposed on some of the mishaps in the exercise.

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This coupled with the loss of trust the locals have in the NRM party officials has contributed to the low turn up of members in the ongoing register update. Of course, we can’t rule out the fact that most people in Uganda always wait to do things at the last minute, maybe by the 16th numbers would have increased.

One thing that has come out clearly is that there’s little media mobilization and sensitization for the exercise, much as millions of shillings have been allocated for the same activity.

Mainstream media activities stalled immediately after the launch and people who are responsible for it resorted to using social media yet many of the target groups are people who don’t own smartphones but listen to their local FM stations.

Political ‘rivalism’ is another factor affecting the NRM register update exercise in that some politicians are blocking other people from registering, or their names have been deliberately deleted from the register because they are being viewed as potential competitors.

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In conclusion, with all these, I think CEC was right to put on halt the NRM structures elections because if this is just the party register update, what about the elections itself, how bloody would it be?….! Thank you.

The writer, Enyalu Julius, is a son of the mere rice farmer from Gweri Soroti

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