A group of 450 ruling National Resistance Movement party flag bearers who lost in the just concluded elections have each asked for a shs50 million bailout from President Museveni.
On Saturday, the group that included councilors, chairpersons and other independent but NRM-leaning candidates met with the president, who also doubles as the ruling party national chairman at Kololo independence groups and sought assistance through a memorandum read on their behalf by Singh Katongole, the NRM Vice-chairman for Kampala.
The group told Museveni that the lack of structures, delayed facilitation and double standards by Electoral Commission returning officers who were allegedly in favour of the opposition caused their failure in the elections.
“Internal conflicts within the NRM disadvantaged us. Security only deployed during the presidential election and on other days, police didn’t care. This gave chance to opposition to intimidate and threaten our supporters,” the group told Museveni.
According to the flag bearers who lost in the previous polls, the NRM-leaning independents divided votes and this also caused trouble for them.
“By dealing with individuals like Full Figure, Bajjo and Bebe Cool among others on the expense of party structures, we had to lose out,” the flag bearers told Museveni.
“When you give them money, they go to social media bragging about it causing a rift within the party supporters. Whenever we went to ask for votes, people told us to go to Bajjo, Bebe Cool, and Full Figure to vote for us.”
The group told Museveni that the shs50 million for each of them would help bail them out of the debts they incurred after borrowing to finance their campaigns but that they eventually lost the polls.
Museveni drags feet
However, the NRM national chairman, President Yoweri Museveni didn’t yield to the demands of the party’s flag bearers.
He told them 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,” Museveni told the group.
The NRM party chairman who didn’t welcome the idea of bailout told the party flag bearers that he doesn’t want to be coerced into making mistakes.
He asked for an opportunity to meet the group later to discuss more constructive ways to handled issues affecting Ugandans.
“I don’t want to lose direction. Allow me to leave you with only the transport that brought you. We shall think about the other things later,” he told the unhappy audience that later got excited at the announcement of a transport refund.
When contacted for a comment, Singh Katongole, confirmed attending the meeting in his capacity as the NRM Vice-chairman for Kampala.