The newest opposition political party in Uganda, National Unity Platform (NUP) leadership is in trouble after the founders of the National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP) petitioned the Electoral Commission over illegal change of party symbols, colors and appointment of Kyadondo East MP Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu as party presidential flag bearer in the 2021 general election.
According to a document addressed to the EC chairman Justice Mugenyi Byabakama Simon and drafted by the NURP founders’ lawyers, the resolution amending the party name from NURP to NUP without complying with the party constitution 2004 and provisions of the Political Parties and Organizations Act 2005 is unlawful.
Lawyer James Byamukama further writes that his clients are puzzled by the resolution dated 5th 12 2017 illegally nominating someone described in the resolution as “The Ghetto President, H.E Bobi Wine Kyadondo East MP Kyagulanyi Robert” as the flag bearer in the 2021 general elections, many years before the due time before such nominations and without following the Party constitution and national election laws.
“The extraordinary Delegates Conference allegedly held on 14th 7 2020 and attended by only 51 unverified members out of a Delegates Membership list of 400 delegates, which rubber stamped Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert as the new party president and his associates as party office bearers, unopposed without conducting a proper election in violation of the party constitution and provisions of the national constitution on internal democracy in political parties” Byamukama writes.
There is also a complaint on the deliberate alteration of the list of founder members/subscribers of the party in order to aid and abet the aforesaid scheme.
Now, the founders have warned that if the electoral commission fails to omit or exercise the its statutory mandate in the matter, they will have no option but to join the electoral commission legal proceedings intended to restore control of the NURP party to its rightful founders and members.
“We are also requesting access to full records on this matter in order to advise our clients, who are the party founders” the letter reads.
However, the new party leader Robert Kyagulanyi says all this is the scheme by President Yoweri Museveni to stop them from unseating him. He alleges that the President is panicking because of the support gained by NUP.
“When we tried to reserve the name 'People Power' in 2019, we found that the regime had deployed its apologists to reserve the name so as to block us from registering a Political Party. Then, we set out to do consultations as guaranteed by the laws of this land. Under the very eye of the Electoral Commission, our consultations were blocked and frustrated. A few days back, we dropped a bomb shell that threw them into a state of panic” Kyagulanyi says.
He added that they as NUP had been doing all processes legally but quietly for some months and that the day they filed papers at the Electoral Commission informing them of the new leadership of the National Unity Platform, President Museveni immediately sacked key people at the Electoral Commission, including Mr. Sam Rwakoojo, the Secretary and Mr. Jothan Taremwa, the spokesman.
Kyagulanyi insinuates that the officials were sucked for accepting to register NUP. “And now, there is a new attempt by one James Byamukama, whose mission can be clearly understood! The regime is trying to clutch onto anything that will save it from the inevitable collapse and embarrassment that awaits it. This is a Party which has existed for all these years and no body has ever raised any complaint. The changes which have been made in the recent months have all been done in full compliance with all provisions of the Party Constitution and other laws” he added.
According to Kyagulanyi, the changes have been approved and gazetted by the Commission itself and now, because he is Party President and they are seeing how much support he is receiving across the nation, they will use all sorts of people to file bogus cases and do all manner of things.
He assured NUP supporters that the new attempt will fail, like all other attempts before them.