The National Resistance Movement – NRM chairperson for Kababrole and Fort Portal City John Kusemererwa has pleaded with party members who were defeated in the primaries not to contest as independents in the general elections next year.
In the just-concluded NRM party primaries, some candidates that lost in Fort Portal vowed to contest as independents against the flag bearers, citing electoral malpractices like voter bribery, vote-rigging among others.
For instance, in Fort Portal City Woman Member of Parliament race, Judith Mukidi Basemera, who lost to Linda Irene Mugisa, has announced that come 2021, she will be in the same race as an independent.
Mugisa got 14,646 votes while Mukidi garnered 2,071. The others in the race were Kabarole Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo who got 5,268 votes and Sylvia Kihunde who scored a paltry 534 votes.
But Mukidi says she cannot rally behind a person whose victory is highly questionable.
In Fort Portal City North Division Parliamentary race, Solomon Ruhundwa lost to his rival Margaret Muhanga who won with a difference of about 300 votes. The other contestant in the race was Stephen Kaliba, the former Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister.
After the declaring Muhanga as the victor with 6,061 and Ruhundwa with 5,793 votes, he announced that he will contest against Muhanga as an independent candidate.
However, Kusemerwa says that even though there is no law barring the losers from running as independents, it is against their principles and can cause disharmony in the party.
Kusemererwa admitted that there were few irregularities in the elections and the losers should accept the decision by the majority voters and rally behind the winners.
In January, President Museveni, who is also the party chairman said that the party will expel all its members who defy the party and contest as independent candidates after losing party primaries.
Speaking at the NRM National Delegates’ Conference, Museveni said that there will not be any justifiable reason why anyone would stand as an independent candidate, now that the party was moving towards having more transparent elections conducted by way of lining up behind the candidates.