By Patrick Kagenda
As UPC continues to grapple with an internal revolt, especially among the senior party faithful, Jimmy Akena who was recently declared party president at the Delegate’s Consultative Meeting held in Kampala at the beginning of July has now gone ahead to announce his cabinet that will run party activities.
Akena invoked Article 14.3(2) of the UPC Constitution and appointed the nine cabinet members including; John Patrick Mwondha as party Vice President, Fred Ebil Ebil as Assistant Secretary General, Ben Bakabulindi as National Vice Chair, Maxwell Akora Ebong Patrick as National Treasurer, Hajji Kinyiri Fahad Mutemberwa as the workers representative, Mujuzi Kellen as the women leader and Atim Brenda Kinyera as the youth leader. All the appointed cabinet members were approved by the consultative meeting.
As he announced his partial cabinet to the media during the weekly press briefing held on July 8, at Uganda House, Akena said, “The cabinet was approved by the Delegate’s Conference held on July 1 at the UMA Hall in Lugogo and its main task is to re-organize, and mobilize the party at all levels.” However, it is not clear why he announced an incomplete cabinet that has three slots vacant.
Akena said his partial cabinet is now tasked with ensuring UPC becomes visible, and hence contests in every election.
Going forward, his cabinet is expected to follow-up the issue of party funds by appointing a commission to study the audit reports of the outgoing cabinet to establish who exactly did what.
Akena’s other plans include securing the first floor on Uganda House as the party headquarters just like the case was in 1980 -1985 when the UPC government last ruled Uganda. Presently, the party headquarters are housed on the sixth floor of the 13-floor building. Other new changes include streamlining the relationship between the Milton Obote Foundation (M.O.F) and UPC.
While responding to previous remarks made by his predecessor Olara Otunnu over comments that he is not accountable for the party funds, Akena reminded him that as a former party president he is accountable to the party organs especially the National Council and the Delegate’s Conference.
Akena noted that the UPC National Council is the party parliament and approves all budgets of the party. Akena insists that Otunnu has to account to the party members what he did during his tenure as party president.
Otunnu’s critics say during his five year tenure as President of UPC, he never called a National Council or a Delegate’s Conference yet the party constitution requires the party president to call at least two delegate’s conferences in five years and a national council every year.
At the same media briefing, Kigenyi Higenyi, the acting UPC spokesperson turned the heat on embattled Otunnu challenging him to justify his ‘mudslinging campaign’ meant to tarnish Akena’s image. According to Higenyi, Otunnu claims that Akena’s machinations are all in the interest of Museveni and is bent on killing UPC.
“Let me make it clear, if there is anyone working for Museveni it is Otunnu because all the five years he spend at the helm of the party, he was working for killing the party organs, and even misused its finances.”
“By refusing to accept that he was defeated in an election he organized is enough reason to drive home the message that he wants the party dead.”
Efforts to get a comment from Otunnu over these allegations were futile as he did not answer our calls. However, Otunnu has in the past maintained his stand saying he is not accountable for party funds because he is not a signatory to party accounts. Otunnu still maintains a presence on Uganda House’s ninth floor where his Independent Commission of Inquiry currently reviewing Akena’s victory is based.