Last Thursday, 27 October 2022, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party headquarters in Kampala was stormed by the party’s flagbearers from five divisions in Kampala who lost during the 2021 general Elections. The flagbearers accused the party of neglecting them and not refunding the money they lost during campaigns.
It must be recalled that in April 2021, President Museveni who also doubles as the NRM party chairman held a meeting at Kololo Independence ground with a group of over 400 division chairpersons and councilors from Kampala. SecretsKnown established that during this meeting, the flag bearers demanded that the party bails out each of them with UGX 50 million (US $13,212) since most campaign funds they used had been acquired through loans and sell of personal property which left many trapped in debt with hopes of getting refuge from the party.
SecretsKnown established that President Museveni after being made aware of the bailout demands did not buy into the idea and reminded the financially shattered, battered, and bruised NRM flagbearers that it is suicidal to invest in politics instead of business.
“You cannot borrow to go and join politics. If someone gets to that level of asking you for money so they can join politics, do not vote for him. Money should be invested in business, not politics,” said Museveni.
The actions of these errant NRM flag bearers trying to hold the party at ransom for their individual mistakes clearly reveal that the ulterior motive of joining elective politics in Uganda is purely driven by the desire to make money and no longer to transform the country and promote the party ideology.
Such an act of storming the party headquarters begs a lot of questions:
- Has NRM become a political party where “politicians” affiliate themselves with the intent to make money or get opportunities?
- Should the political party be held at ransom by flagbearers who fail and demand for compensation?
- So, if they want NRM to compensate them, where does the party get the money from?
- When will political candidates take personal responsibility for their mistakes?
It is imperative for political actors to understand that healthy elective politics is not driven by money but by ideas. When elective politics is rendered as a business venture where one invests with expectations of recouping in the long run, then political merchants with selfish interests will be at the center of our politics and this is dangerous for Uganda’s democratic growth. It is high time politicians start to appreciate the fact that elective politics is about voluntary service where one is elected to serve and not a money-making enterprise.