Uganda’s Mbabazi questions ruling party nomination process, holds on to the UGX 20m nomination fee

Mbababa (L) and Odoi (R) at NRM offices in Kampala

Mbababa (L) and Odoi (R) at NRM offices in Kampala

Ugandan former prime minister and 2016 candidate for president Amama Mbamba Thursday expressed concerns about the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) internal elections process questioning and holding on to paying the nomination fee.

Embattled Mbabazi was due to collect his nomination forms from NRM Headquarters in Kampala but upon arriving there, he declined to the Sh 20 million nomination fee.

“This morning I spoke with my comrade Chairman NRM Electoral Commission Tanga Odoi about the nomination process. I believe that before you pay for something, you must know what it is you are paying for,” he wrote on his Facebook Thursday.

Mr. Mbabazi is contesting the fee on grounds that it is non-refundable and that the purpose of the fee is not well defined.

“The problem I have is that the 20 million Shillings in nonrefundable. So what happens if I disagree with regulations?”, the former Secretary General of the NRM wondered.

One of the rules Mbabazi might be referring to is the one that bars NRM candidates from running as independent just in case they lose out on the nomination.

However, NRM electoral commission chairman, Tanga Odoi counters saying Mbabazi drafted the rules he is now criticizing.

“The former prime minister drafted the constitution which I am using, I want to thank him for testing the waters,” Odoi said.

Mbabazi argues the fee is too high, and an aspirant should first peruse through nomination papers and guidelines which is not the case as per NRM rules.

Mbabazi has been at loggerheads with his party’s executives ever since he announced he will challenge President Yoweri Museveni for NRM nomination for president. He was arrested and detained two weeks ago for attempting to campaign “illegally”.

At the moment he is not authorized to campaign until he straightens up with his party; the NRM.

Mbabazi is a longtime colleague of Museveni’s but the duo has since fallen out.