Lira—4, August 2020: The National Resistance Movement (NRM) is a revolutionary party who also believes in patriotism and democracy. It’s with no doubt that NRM is also a top-wealthiest political party in Uganda by assets, membership and moneys.
However, just like they say being wealthy doesn’t mean you must eat meat or chicken every day, or have milk, butter and bread every day for breakfast, this adage might have forced the ruling party to bin some of its core responsibilities inside their store because it doesn’t matter.
In some districts, especially in Lango sub-region, certain NRM party offices are akin to a produce store operating deep in a village. They are dilapidated and awful-looking.
Their Lira district office is no exception. Besides being dilapidated, Lira NRM party office has accumulated up to Uganda shillings 15.2m in rent.
From 2014 to date, NRM national secretariat in Kampala never wired a “single coin” to Lira leadership for rent and other related bills.
The news has come as a disbelief to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, who visited the office on Tuesday morning.
Hon. Oulanyah had a tour of Lango sub-region (Lira and other districts) canvassing for votes as he aims to be the next NRM vice chairperson in charge of northern Uganda. The seat is currently managed by Hon. Sam Engola, who’s also the Lira district NRM party chairman.
While at NRM Lira offices, Lira Municipality (officially a City on Thursday, 6, August 2020), candidate Olanya said the followings:
“….I also understand that this particular office for the NRM had been housed by one of our members who’s in the district executive committee but he got fed up with non-payment of rent and evicted the NRM for Lira which was unfortunate and then our registrar Mr Oleng decided to take care of the office. He’s the district registrar,” his transcribed speech reads in part.
“He (Oleng) had some space in his building, he gave it to the NRM party and a discounted rate of shs200, 000 per month and that money has not been paid since 2014. Accumulated rent if now shs15.2m.”
“Besides the rent, the office is not looking very-very good, something should be done about it. So, on my part, today I have not visited because of rent, that is the responsibility of the secretariat but the condition of the office, look at the furniture, it’s not very good but I also ask Mr Oleng to at least fix the floor so that the floor looks better, I think that’s your responsibility as the landlord to make sure it doesn’t look that bad.”
He added: “But also knowing that the rent is in arrear, you also have no capacity to repair a room or a house that you have let out and the tenant is not paying.”
“What I am going to do this morning, is to at least contribute to refurbishment, painting, sealing, etc. So, I am going to give this office a donation of shs1.6m that can go into not rent but to make the office more habitable and looking better, reflecting the true image of the mighty party—NRM. The issue of rent can be handled later, but for now I will make a contribution of shs1.6m.”
The publication’s attempts to get a comment from Lira NRM Treasurer, Mr Geoffrey Etwop was futile by press time.
According to some NRM delegates from Lango sub-region who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity because some of them are leaders in the party, “this is the time for Hon. Jacob Oulanyah to represent our agenda before the Central Executive Committee (CEC).”
CEC is the topmost decision making body of the NRM party and it’s chaired by its national chairman, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
“We need balance, change of leadership in the region, and to me Mr Oulanyah is the right man,” one delegate told TND News on Tuesday evening.