NRM rebel MPs to sue for Kyankwanzi ban
POLITICS | A group of legislators from National Resistance Movement Organisation (NRM) have threatened to sue for continued sidelining from the party activities.
Baptized the ‘Rebel MPs’ for dissenting from party positions from time to time, the group, led by Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), James Acidri (Maracha County), John Baptist Nambeshe (Majiya County) and Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North) are protesting the decision to block them from the retreat.
NRM has over the recent past denied the Rebel MPs invites to the party retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi, but in threatening to sue, the fringe legislators argue that the party has never subjected them to any disciplinary hearing.
This, they say, makes the move “smell of some NRM members attempting to hijack the party.”
Ssekikubo kicked off the rebuke by condemning what he termed as the “hijacking of the party,” warning that any party that is doomed has the “hardliners, the extremists taking over,” and wondering what criteria NRM used to deem him 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,” Ssekikubo said.
The legislator said that all that the Rebel MPs seek is to put forward their ideas and engagement. He wondered 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.
Ssekikubo accused Ruth Nankabirwa, the Government Chief Whip, of “acting contrary to the expectations of her job.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The remarks of the team follow a pronouncement by Margaret Muhanga, NRM Causus spokesperson, who, while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre, named the six MPs that were barred from participating in the retreat, on grounds that these had acted against the welfare of the party.
But while addressing the media 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.
Tinkasimiire also weighed into the matter, wondering what was so special at the NRM retreat that the party had to 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, instead arguing that 21 MPs were banned because of failure to endorse the lifting of presidential age limit.
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 the country, even in terms of ideas.
“They only invited a few persons simply because I voted for my people. We have decided that since they took the path of darkness, we can’t use darkness to fight them, we leave them, let Ugandans judge them,” Tinkasimiire said.
New kid on the block, Acidri, said that although his name wasn’t among those read at media centre, he wasn’t invited despite being in the 10th Parliament on the NRM ticket. He 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 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 victimised 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,” he said.
“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.”