By Patrick Kagenda
UPC regional leaders want court injunction of party activities lifted
Outgoing UPC party president Olara Otunnu on April 9, let the cat out of the bag when he announced a road map that will lead the party to having a new party president come June this year.
Otunnu`s announcement came a week after the Buganda region UPC leaders meeting held at Uganda House added its voice to other regional party leaders giving an ultimatum to the group that had gone to court and secured a court injunction barring the party from carrying out any party activity.
Announcing the new development Otunnu said he had written to the Party National Chairman, Prof. Edward Kakonge, advising him to convene a session of the National Council (NC) of UPC to be held from June 10 to 11.
“This is in accordance with the provision of Article 12.32 of the UPC constitution. I have requested the party national chairman to take the necessary steps to dually convene the national council. This is in fulfillment of my responsibility under the party constitution to advise the national chairman and I have also issued a public notice to all UPC leaders, all delegates of the Delegates Conference (DC) of UPC that the delegates’ conference of UPC will convene on June 12 which is to say it will be immediately following the National Council.”
Otunnu also presented the timetable of activities leading to the NC and DC of the party.
According to the timetable,
April 10-17 the Party Electoral Commission (PEC) will receive applications for candidature from aspiring presidential candidates.
April 20-24 PEC will be processing applications from aspiring presidential candidates.
April 27-May 14 presidential candidates will be canvassing for district conference endorsement.
May 16: convening of district conferences to consider nominating party presidential candidate in accordance with Article 11, 2(6) of the party constitution.
May 18-22 PEC will be processing and verifying results received from district conferences in fulfillment of Article 13.2(5) of the party constitution.
May 23-June 8: National campaign period for presidential candidates.
June 10-11: Holding of National Council session.
June 12: holding of Delegate’s Conference.
Otunnu said that these actions and timetable had been set in motion in full expectation that the party members who imposed a court injunction on the party shall assume their responsibility and take the necessary steps to immediately withdraw what he called “the injurious self-inflicted tether on the party”.
Earlier while addressing the media during the UPC weekly press briefing at Uganda House, party Vice-president Joseph Bossa said the regional UPC party leaders had unanimously resolved that the applicants who obtained the court injunction namely Edward Rurangaranga, Sospater Akwenyu, and Muhamoud Kazimbiraine immediately withdraw the court case in the interest of the party.
The regional party leaders reminded the petitioners that the party is not one, two or three people but a mass of Ugandans who should not be held at ransom by a handful of individuals.
From when Otunnu announced his not coming back for a second term in office, he has been on a nationwide tour explaining to party leaders why he is not seeking a second term.
But in response to Otunnu`s announcement, one of the petitioners who secured the court injunction; Hajji Mohamoud Kazimbiraine, said what Otunnu is doing is avoiding talking to the directly.
“He is just buying time to first advance his interests in the Interparty Collaboration using the UPC platform. Why can’t he call the National Council within a fortnight, does it call for a whole two months to hold the National Council?
“Our party financiers have the money ready to facilitate the National Council and Delegate’s Conference. When we return to court on April 20, we will ask court to have him talk to us than just do things the way he wants.”
Robert Kanusu who was Otunnu`s first party spokesperson said it appear to him that Otunnu has finally realised that he has no other way but to clear the mess he created in the party. He said Otunnu had torn apart a party which had been united during the days of Mama Miria Obote.
“I hope the next person to be elected party president will return the unity UPC had all through before Otunnu came into power,” he said.
Uganda`s independence party has for the last five years of Olara Otunnu`s presidency been embroiled in factional battles within the party with many party members blaming him for tearing the party apart.