Mbabazi to run for president as independent candidate

Uganda’s former prime minister and presidential hopeful, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi has said he will not contest for presidency on the NRM ticket on grounds that the party primaries are illegal.

“I’m not leaving NRM. I’m just not running on the NRM ticket. I am going to start a journey and at the end of this journey, I’ll be president of Uganda. I have decided that I will not stand within NRM and when the time comes I will be nominated as presidential candidate,” he said.

Mr Mbabazi made the remarks on Friday while addressing the press at his home in Kololo.

“As a founding member, lawyer and patriotic citizen I will not bind myself to illegality. NRM must re-examine itself,” he added.

His remarks come after President Yoweri Museveni said he would be picking his nomination forms for the NRM flag bearer on Friday, a day that the party’s electoral commission chairman, Mr Tanga Odoi declared as the deadline for picking nomination forms for the party primaries.

The former prime minister went to the NRM headquarters on July 16, in what had been expected as a move to pick nomination papers.

He instead challenged the legality of nomination fees, describing them as exorbitant that will mortgage the party to the rich and alienate the poor.

An aspirant for the post of NRM chairperson and for party flag-bearer must pay Ush10 million ($2,915) for each position before picking nomination papers. Mr Mbabazi wanted to contest for both positions, currently held by President Museveni.

NRM electoral commission chairman Tanga Odoi said the fees are meant to help fund party activities and the conduct of primaries across the country.

Dr Odoi warned on Wednesday that aspirants who do not pick nomination forms by Friday should forget about contesting in the NRM primaries.

By Wednesday, NRM had collected Us billion ($874,650) from 1,400 aspirants vying for different positions under the party ticket.