Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Unity Platform (NUP), the party with the highest number of elected leaders in the opposition, officially declared this week that they will not be joining the People’s Front for Transition-PFT. The PFT pressure group was last week launched, with its leaders saying their aim is to end President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni 36 year long grip on power.
Officially, NUP didn’t give reasons why it was choosing to stay clear of the Front. Speaking to the press this week, David Lewis Rubongoya, the party’s spokesperson admitted that they had been consulted before the Front was announced but they resolved not to join it.
Rubongoya didn’t give any reasons why the party and its President Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu were not joining, although he was quick to add that they will support any group that is fighting for change in Uganda.
“Anybody fighting to end the regime in Uganda is our comrade; we are like grasshoppers in a bottle, we cannot spend time fighting each other when the enemy is out there waiting to crush all of us. The regime we are trying to put down is like an elephant which is oppressing our people and all of us have to play our part to push it. This is not about FDC or NUP; it’s about you Ugandans,” Rubongoya said.
In an interview with Uganda Radio Network, Rubongoya said both the Front and NUP although are using different vehicles, are nevertheless moving in the same direction.
However, although Rubongoya publicly professes no ill will with the Front, four people who know the on goings in NUP say that the real reason why the party will not join is their suspicion of FDC and Dr Kiiza Besigye personally.
“First of all, we don’t believe in the methods that Besigye uses because they seem not to be working all the time he has used them,” a high level member of the NUP who asked not be named to discuss internal matters freely said.
“Second, by joining the Front, we are inadvertently helping him to have a political comeback yet he is a spent force.”
Another source within NUP also said they are not only suspicious of Besigye but also the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who is his deputy in the hierarchy of the Front.
“You’ve seen some FDC people saying Lukwago is going to be their candidate for 2026, surely, how would you join a group whose aim you know is to destroy our party and our president?” asked another source.
“Kyagulanyi is still the candidate of the future and we shall do everything in our power to ensure that it remains so,” the source said.
Muwanga Kivumbi, the MP for Butambala County who is also the chairperson of Buganda Caucus said as much while speaking on NBS television this week.
“Like it or not, in the politics of Uganda, there is People Power, NUP and Bobi Wine, if you don’t want a contradiction, you must move with him,” Kivumbi said.
Another leader within NUP told URN that actually there are two camps within the party opposed to the Front but each for a different but somewhat selfish reason.
“The top leaders obviously are against the Front because they see it as a threat to their politics but for us as young people, we feel we are not represented,” the leader said. “Imagine apart from Doreen Nyanjura how many among those people is a young person representing our aspirations? I think the time to relegate young people to the back seats has long gone. Any formation that doesn’t prioritize our issues will find hard time to get acceptance among the many young people you will find on social media.”
But Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the MP for Kira municipality and spokesperson of FDC wondered why anybody would begrudge Besigye for coming back to be part of a war he started more than 20 years ago.
Ssemujju said if anybody is against Besigye’s Front, then let them form other fronts such that they both meet in the field to try and cause change in the country.
Ssemujju also wondered why anybody would fault Besigye for having failed to remove Museveni in the last 20 years. He said those who want to change leadership in Uganda should keep on the job until the work is done.
For his part, Yusuf Serunkuma a political theorist based at Makerere University Institute of Social Research said any political organization whose aim is to challenge president Museveni is welcome.
Serunkuma also doesn’t begrudge NUP for having refused to join the Front. He argues that if any political organization wants to stand the taste of time, it should remain unorganized and amorphous as properly structured organizations are prone to bribery, intimidation and infiltration by the state.