On Tuesday at about midday, President Museveni made a phone call to the Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama.
The phone call would soon determine the fate of eight Senior EC officials among whom included; Sam Rwakoojo, the senior accounting officer and Secretary to the Electoral Commission as well as the Commission’s Mouthpiece Jotham Taremwa.
In the phone call, Museveni said: “I don’t want those people, tell them to go away today.”
Also on the chopping block were data specialists; Charles Musuza and Edgar Kasigwa. Pontius Namugera (the ICT director was also fired).
While it has been reported that the team were fired over corruption-related matters, a source inside State House intimated to Nile Post, that the failure by the EC officials to report Robert Kyagulanyi’s “suspicious activities” of taking over a political party could have played a role in their sacking.
Yesterday, Kyagulanyi unveiled the National Unity Platform after he reached an understanding with Kibalama Nkonge of the National Unity, Development and Reconciliation Party (NUDRP).
Nkonge registered the party in 2004.
EC under the law is mandated to supervise all political parties. Therefore whatever changes are made in the constitution of a political party must receive the express approval of the electoral body.
According to the source, the President got wind that People Power founder, Bobi Wine had bought and changed a name of a party 11 months ago, but EC remained tight-lipped about the matter until it was reported to him on Monday while he met NRM’s top brass.
We have been told that an angry Museveni is said to have sought further information and heard from more stakeholders before zeroing down on a number of people whose role is directly involved with the day to day running of the Commission and ought to have informed.
Bobi Wine buys and rebrands party
Early last year, Bobi Wine developed the idea of transferring his People Power Movement into a political vehicle flagged by a party.
The idea which he kept a secret between him and his elder brother Fred Nyanzi would later culminate into engagements with Mzeei Kibalama Nkonge of the National Unity, Development and Reconciliation Party.
Another party (Activists Party) was contacted but their symbol, a hand with three pointed fingers did not excite Bobi Wine and Nyanzi.
The duo then moved to consult a one Degaulle Kawuma for his party National Convention for Democracy whose symbol is a flying bluebird.
However, Kawuma;’s party fell short of satisfactory requirements since it was already involved in a coalition to create The Parties Forum.
It should be noted that in September 2005, five political parties including National Convention for Democracy, Forum for Integrity leadership, Liberal Democratic Transparency, National Progressive Movement merged to form The Parties Forum.
Acquiring Kawuma’s party would, therefore, prove cumbersome for Bobi hence zeroing down on Kibalama’s (NURDP), whose symbol is a blue umbrella.
Bobi Wine finalizes with EC, but they remain quiet
Bobi Wine started preparations for changing the party from NURDP to National Unity Party, plus changing in colors and the symbol which he successfully handed over to the Electoral Commission for gazetting.
According to the Political Parties and Organisations Act 2005, anyone intending to change names, party symbols are required to write to the EC within 21 days of which the EC will place include the mater in the gazette for 14 days before confirmation of changes.
Bobi Wine’s changes were approved by the EC on July 29th, 2019, and fully confirmed on August 12th the same year.
However, since then, the EC remained tightlipped about the matter, to the much annoyance of the President who surely lost trust in many men at the Commission.
Accordingly, it is not possible that Bobi managed to make the process of achieving a party through the Secretary of EC Rwakoojo, and Data Base specialists also got no idea about the matter as well as the Commission’s Spokesperson Taremwa.
“It is strange at how Bobi infiltrated the EC to that level,” the source said.
President Museveni fired the EC officials on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning, Bobi Wine launched his party. Is the coincidence not so loud?
A few minutes after midday on Tuesday, Nile Post contacted Jotham Taremwa and Sam Rwakoojo but they refused to pick.
Nile Post on Wednesday contacted Taremwa again on allegations he and colleagues were fired over Bobi Wine’s party, but he did not answer, including text messages sent to his phone.
On the other hand, people inside Bobi Wine’s camp were taken by surprise after the presidential hopeful summoned for the event abruptly.
“The urgency was too much; you can tell from how disorganized the event appeared. There was a rush for something or from something,” a journalist attached to Nile Post reported.
It is true that the sacked officials were under investigation by Nakalema’s Anti-Corruption Unit over mishandling a procurement process for ballots which led to an increase in costs to the government by double amounts.
However, Nile Post can reliably confirm that the group was not sacked over the matter. Nonetheless, it was bound to create enough trouble in the future.