Former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has arrived at Kyadondo NRM party headquarters to pick nomination forms before he can contest for the presidency.
However, a war of words has erupted between himself and the NRM Electoral Commission chairman, Tanga Odoi.
Apparently, Mbabazi is questioning Odoi on why he has to pay nomination fees totalling to Shs 20m for the position of NRM party chairperson and presidential flag bearer.
President Yoweri Museveni who is running for the same positions has already paid the said amount.
This is what is transpiring at Kyadondo, according to tweets by SMS Media Uganda:
Its 10:00am as promised: Mbabazi arrives at Kyadondo NRM headquarters to pick nomination forms. Tanga Odoi, NRM EC chairperson, is ready and orients him on fees to pay before he can be handed nomination forms.
“It sounds great,” Amama Mbabazi says.
Tanga Odoi then goes – “You don’t touch any document of mine until you pay.”
“You mean I should pay before I can get forms?” Amama Mbabazi asks before Tanga Odoi re-explains exactly what the process requires.
“I have no problem (paying). These are nomination fees, not fees leading to my nomination,” Amama Mbabazi.
Amama Mbabazi questions “certifying academic papers”, and again Tanga Odoi re-explains why aspirants are required to do so this time round.
Amama Mbabazi – “The reason why I came is to pick documents now, so I can prepare for nominations. I am still aspiring.”
AmamaMbabazi – “All I wanted was nomination papers.”
Tanga Odoi objects before Amama goes – “Are you sure this is the right procedure?”
Odoi insists Amama Mbabazi will not get forms until pays, and picks them in person – “Even if you sent Nina, I would not have issued them.”
Amama Mbabazi insists he should have access to rules, regulations guiding the process before he can issue payments – “I will pay no doubt.”
Amama Mbabazi – “The UGX20Mn is non-refundable. If I pay and I don’t agree with the rules, I don’t get my UGX20m back.”
Amama Mbabazi: Seemingly bows to party nomination rules – “I will pay (the UGX20Mn).”
Amama Mbabazi leaves after a handshake with Tanga Odoi, who says he will have the “full package” when he makes payment to the bank.
10:40: Mbabazi, Odoi address press:
“I only wanted to read the law before I pay. Whether I agree or not – they say it’s my issue. Don’t you find that strange? – Amama Mbabazi.
“Constitution of NRM gives EC powers to set guidelines that must be approved by CEC. We did so, and they were approved by CEC,” – Tanga Odoi.
“I thank Amama Mbabazi for testing the waters, and assure him no one will harass him while here,” – Tanga Odoi.
“If you are within the constitutional framework, CEC cannot throw you out,”- Tanga Odoi.
“There is a difference between NRM caucus and the EC I head. I am a principled person – no one has pushed me over sole candidate,” – Tanga Odoi
Tanag Odoi says he can resign if irregularities are imposed on him – “I have a CV to protect. Every candidate must follow the law.”
Tanga cites the universities where a student first pays admission fees before getting rules and regulations.
Mbabazi says universities are guided by statutory instruments unlike NRM.
But Tanga Odoi says Mbabazi was among those who endorsed the regulations and EC is only doing its job.
UPDATE: Mbabazi leaves the NRM headquarters without picking nomination forms for the positions of Chairman and flag bearer of the party he said he would contest for.
Mbabazi told the press that he was going to wait for the outcome of the NRM Central Executive Committee meeting today which will pronounce itself on some of the issues he raised.
Mbabazi said he is not comfortable paying nomination fees before he has read the nomination guidelines.