Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Meritocracy Party (UMP) says they are in talks with Kyadondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, over the use of the ‘people power’ slogan.
Kyagulanyi’s meteoric rise on the political scene in the past two years has earned him global recognition. A red beret, an overall and ‘people power’ chants have defined Bobi Wine, the politician.
Often, during his campaign rallies and other political activities, Kyagulanyi has emphasized that “the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power”, a quote first attributed to Egyptian Internet activist and computer engineer Wael Ghonim. Ghonim is the “keyboard freedom fighter” who became famous during the 2011 pro-democracy demonstrations which ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
In his memoir Revolution 2.0 “The power of people is greater than the people in power (2013)”, Wael explains that ‘people power’ turned around Egypt’s fortunes.
But the same ‘People Power’ slogan used by Kyagulanyi was registered by the Uganda Meritocracy Party in 2016. The party, which is not known to many Ugandans, is now preparing to launch countrywide activities and is holding talks with Bobi Wine over the slogan.
However, the Party’s Acting Vice President and Spokesperson Ouma Simon Peter says they have not stopped Bobi Wine from using the slogan because his championing the interests that they will also be promoting.
The party was swift to warn Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) and events manager Balaam Barugahare when news emerged that he had registered a charity organisation called people power. But Balaam denied the reports.
“It has come to our attention that Balaam Barugahare one of the businessmen in Kampala has registered a non-government organisation in the name of people power and has immediately threatened any individual/group who attempts to use the above name dire consequences,” the party acting secretary for legal affairs, David Wambogo said in a letter dated January 19.
It is at this point that he stated that people power is a reserved and gazetted slogan of Uganda Meritocracy Party (UMP) as per the laws pertaining registration of political parties.
Wambogo says that the letter was a reminder to Balaam that he did not have a monopoly over the words People Power because the slogan had already been registered. He says they don’t want to be seen as if they are fighting Bobi Wine, who already acknowledged in their meetings that he was using their slogan.
Wambogo said those interested in the people power slogan should join the Uganda Meritocracy Party. He warned that the party will not let anyone use or misuse their slogan without their permission. He added that the talks with Bobi Wine, are going on and Ugandans will soon be informed of the final outcome.
The party founders seem to be a bunch of youth who remain evasive on questions of their operations. The URN reporter met the acting party leaders at City House, Kampala and they promised to unveil the party office by end of February.
“We are young people from eastern, northern, central and western regions of Uganda. We have come together to determine public policy and win elections. Restoring the lost glory and pride of the pearl of Africa is our priority,” the party brochure reads.
The party philosophy, the brochure says, is a state based on merit, equality, freedom, democracy and social justice and rule of law.
“We maintain that the best should be in charge, and all Ugandans should have equal opportunities to acquire skills and demonstrate their innovations and talent,” the brochure reads.