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NRM EALA elections turn chaotic, process postponed to Wednesday

 

NRM NEC members vote before the elections turned chaotic. PHOTO COURTESY FRANK TUMWEBAZE.

NRM on Tuesday postponed voting of the party’s East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) representatives after chaotic scenes disrupted the process.

The voting, party sources said, is expected to resume on Wednesday at 2:30pm at a yet to be announced place. Key party members were by press time still holed up in a crisis meeting to forge a way forward after the party chairman had directed for the postponement of the chaotic election process.

Party members including MPs and National Executive Committee members had met on Tuesday at State House in Entebbe to conduct internal elections where they were expected to select members whose names will be sent to Parliament for a final vote.

NRM, due to its numerical strength, is allocated six slots out of the nine allocated to Uganda with the rest of the seats shared between opposition parties and independents.

Earlier, President Museveni, who left the meeting before the elections,  had warned party members against looking at “EALA as a job bureau”.

“Choose members who understand the EALA agenda. EALA is not for job seekers,” the President said.

More than NRM 35 member are seeking to feel the six slots allocated to the ruling party.

Mini buses parked at Parliament in Kampala to transport NRM MPs to Entebbe earlier in the day.

Chaos, which included uncontrolled shouting and near fist fights, broke out after member complained of a confusing voting process, accusing the party electoral commission chairman, Tanga Odoi, of orchestrating a confusing process by putting seven slots on the ballot paper yet the party is allocated only six slots.

“We were told we are voting for six slots. Why do we have seven slots on the ballot papers,” some members were heard shouting before full brown out chaos broke out leading to postponement of the process.

Pleas from various leaders including NRM vice chairperson Moses Kigongo to restore calm, fell on deaf ears as deafening exchanges covered the conference hall where the process was taking place.

 

NRM MPs board buses before heading to State House, Entebbe to vote for the party’s EALA representatives.

The process of renewing representation of the regional parliament has been hotly competitive, attracting more than 100 contestants across the political divide.

On Monday, FDC conducted its internal elections, selecting Florence Ibi Ekwau ahead of Ingrid Turinawe.

However, in a crisis meeting held on Tuesday morning, according to source close to the party, FDC NEC members resolved to send two names to Parliament from which MPs would choose one name to fill the party’s single slot.

This arose after complaints from different party circles faulting NEC for the loss of a party loyalist, Ingrid Turinawe.

Some members argued that the two members’ names, Ibi Ekwau and Ingrid Turinawe, should be subjected to another vote, this time in Parliament.

In a message sent to different party members, Ingrid Turinawe said: “I wish to put it clear, it is not true that I lost the EALA party primary elections. I was just the second winner. I thank all members of NEC who trusted me with your votes that led me to victory. I thank my party FDC for endorsing me. I am ready for nomination in Parliament. No turning back.”

Earlier on Monday she had conceded defeat in a concession speech at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala.

DP has already endorsed Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the incumbent EALA MP and party vice chairperson as its representative.

 

Ingrid Turinawe (Left) says she is ready for nomination in Parliament.