Fracas behind UPC Party Imbroglio
Passing by Uganda House, who runs the business affairs of the house, or by the party. This followed the botched UPC primary elections.
Up and outside the 6th floor, where the UPC offices are, you observe a flag of MP Jimmy Akena fluttering by and his posters pasted at the walls, which have replaced those of the late Dr. Apolo Milton Obote, the founder and first president of UPC, and Akena’s father. Now Akena bills himself as the “President Elect” of UPC.
This is against the background of the supposed primaries that should have ended in the delegates’ conference which should have selected the next UPC president, that was slated for next week on July 10th.Now instead; there will be a report by a commission of inquiry headed by Prof. Patrick Rubaihayo, that is investigating the fracas that has befallen the party that ushered the country to independence.
Basically what has taken place is a”coup” against the constitutional process of electing a UPC president. If this had been a country, the coup would have succeeded, because now Akena’s “militia” have taken over and are occupying the party headquarter offices and is typified by his presence. This is hotly disputed by the incumbent UPC president, Dr. Olara Otunnu, other party presidential hopefuls and host of rank and file party members. As it is, the situation is still smouldering and has to be ratified by a number of institutions including the court which has put an injunction to the whole process.
How did we get to this? The UPC party constitution stipulates district conferences to nominate persons by a certain percentage to the delegates’ conference that is the final arbiter of the process in electing the president. But early last month Akena and his followers shortchanged the process, steamrolled the district nomination process and declared him elected by the district nomination process by 67%, thus hoping to invalidate the decision of the delegates’ conference.
In the ensuing disturbance, Uganda House was effectively taken over by the Police in what is seen as an NRM partisan development and interference in UPC affairs to install Akena as the president of UPC. MP Fred Ebil, an Akena cohort duly said that the Police was there at the knowledge of the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura. That would explain the brazen behaviour of the Akena militia in the entanglement in which some of them have been seen carrying firearms unrestrained by the Police.
It also emerged that the militia have ignored the whole party constitutional procedure, taking hostage officials of the party who were charges with the district elections and the tallying of the results and the review formula; and in one incident manhandling Otunnu in a circumstances that could have turned fatal.
Among these are other issues of massive bribery and intimidation intended to subvert the whole party due process. It is also understood that during this whole mêlée, some former UPC members, and who have crossed over and are now stalwarts of the NRM visited Mrs. Miria Obote, wife of the late president and herself a former UPC president and Akena’s mother, in the wee hours of a certain day and promised her and her son the presidency vowing that they would also return to the party.
What is behind all this interest in the party apart from power? Observers of the scene attribute this to the Uganda House, itself. For some time there has been an undue interest in the house by some of the principals of the NRM to take over the property.
When Mr. Sam Odaka was the chairman of MOF, they hatched a plot to ostensibly have a certain bank lend it money to complete the Uganda House development. Observers say that the plot was to have MOF default on the repayment of some 15 m dollars so that the bank would take over the property. In the course, those NRM luminaries would come to the possession of the property.
If Akena knows this, he may not understand the whole ploy, because he himself is interested in the property, seeing it, not as UPC’s but his father’s house. Party members are indignant about this failure to distinguish the issue of public as opposed to family occupancy. The Rubaihayo inquiry and a possible delegates’ conference will have to adjudicate over this matter as they consider the sinister efforts by Akena and his NRM luminaries to forcibly take over the UPC.