Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, the President of the National Unity Platform-NUP, has trashed calls by some of his party members to negotiate with the government in order to release many of their detained supporters.
Speaking on Thursday at the party’s new headquarters at Makerere Kavule while commissioning the NUP mobilizing committees dubbed ‘Kunga,’ that are intended to mobilize for NUP’s support at all levels across the country, Kyagulanyi said there is no way they can negotiate with the government about their fundamental rights.
The Kimanya Kabonera MP, Dr. Abed Bwanika has been at the forefront of urging his party to agree to a negotiated settlement in order to release all political prisoners. Kyagulanyi said while they are open to transparent dialogue, the first thing on the agenda would be knowing when Museveni leaves power and that if any dialogue doesn’t answer that question, they are not ready for it.
The call for negotiations was amplified recently following the release on bail of MPs Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya, after a year and a half in prison. Rumors started circulating that the duo was released after negotiations by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga with the government.
At the press conference, Kyagulanyi said when he heard about this news, he talked to Mpuuga who flatly rejected any talks with the government. He added that if anyone took part in any talks with the government, the person does not represent the views of NUP.
He further urged NUP supporters to report any of their leaders whom they think are working with the government behind their backs so long as they have evidence to back their claims. However, he cautioned them to first verify their claims before accusing someone of having betrayed the party.
Mpuuga asked NUP supporters to stop spreading fake news and first verify all their claims from the party’s hierarchy. Mpuuga further asked the NUP supporters to also respect their leaders if they are to get what they are vying for.
Meanwhile, Bobi wine also re-echoed NUP’s call to the government security agencies to release their party supporters who have been illegally arrested. According to Kyagulanyi, there is a renewed wave of abductions of NUP supporters and the latest victims are Khalid Ssebi, Kabuga Alex, Yasin Ssebunya, and Fred Kagimu who were allegedly picked from Nakaseke, and Mubiru Saddamu Sadat who was allegedly picked from Salaama road.
He said this while welcoming Geoffrey Onjima alias Tawa who was allegedly abducted on February 7th and released on Wednesday.
Sadly the NUP Principal portrays a high level of noviceness in politics, one can never rule out negotiations whether openly or behind curtains, especially when there are increased calls for the same within one’s camp. A continual hardline position is doing more harm than good and exposing those who subscribe to his views into harm’s way as they too engage in subversive activities, hence ‘continued abductions’. Also there will be a great divide within the party and name-calling and branding as moles for those who hold the alternative stance, and not long a severe breakup.