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UPC’s Dickson Opul seeks party flag to contest for presidency

Dr. Dickson Opul at his home in Muyenga. Photo by Claire Nasasira

Kampala,  Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | A medical doctor, Dickson Opul has declared intentions to contest for 2021 Presidential elections as a UPC candidate, ending speculation that the party that has twice ruled Uganda may not field a presidential candidate in the 20201 polls.

Uganda People’s Congress has been fielding candidates to contest against President Museveni and other candidates since the country returned to a multiparty system in July 2005. But this year, Lira Municipality MP, Jimmy Akena, the president of one of the UPC factions declared that he had no intentions to contest for the presidency, a race he said he was not sure of winning. 

Now Dr Dickson Opul who had previously expressed interest in contesting for one of the constituencies in Oyam has offered to step in and fill the vacuum if endorsed by the party.  

His manifesto will focus on the fight for a corruption-free Uganda, economic development based on equal distribution of resources and the detachment of state institutions from personalities. He says that he has discussed his candidature with both factions of UPC before he can pick nomination papers from the Electoral Commission. 

“I hope that the two factions can come to an agreement and endorse me as the party flag bearer for the 2021 presidential elections.” Dr Opul says. He also promises to use his candidature to unite the factions in Uganda People’s Congress.

Opul in an interview said the fact that Akena is not ready to offer himself as a presidential candidate should not stop other party members to be endorsed as the party’s candidate.    

Dr Opul says that in any contest, there must be a loser and a winner, therefore, it’s all about participation than anticipating the best out of it. 

But Sharon Arach Oyat, the spokesperson of the UPC faction led by Jimmy Akena told URN in an interview that the party’s the UPC constitution restricts the candidature to the party president and that the powers to nominate and endorse a presidential candidate is vested in the delegates conference.  

In 2010, Opul declared intentions to run for the presidency but lost in UPC Party primaries to Ambassador Olara Otunnu. Others in that race were Yona Kanyomozi, Joseph Ocheino, Sospater Akwenyu, Henry Mayega, Jimmy Akena and Samuel Luwero. 

Opul, who is in the early ’50s is widely known for his work in access to HIV/AIDS medicine. He was Executive Director and founder of Uganda Business Coalition (UBC)- HIV/AIDS. The coalition played a critical role in fighting for the inclusion of the private sector and community HIV/AIDS in Uganda at the time when access to ARVS was out of reach to the majority of persons living with HIV/AIDS because of the high cost.

 

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