Delegates to the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) National Council have unanimously resolved to quit the Democratic Alliance Protocol that was signed by the deposed party president, Olara Otunnu, saying its intention is to weaken the party grassroots.
The decision was reached by the delegates Saturday morning at Jokas Hotel Bweyogerere, the last day of the first national council that the party has had in the last five years.
Three hundred and fifty nine delegates voted by the show of hands that the party should withdraw from the protocol of the Democratic Alliance against two delegates voted for the party to remain in the Alliance.
On Friday controversially elected UPC President, Jimmy Akena told the delegates that, he had reservations against fully engaging in the Alliance but urged the national council – the parliament of the party, to rather concentrate on building the party structures that he alleged Dr. Olara Otunnu’s leadership has weakened.
Maxwell Akora the National Secretary of UPC says they were not consulted as the parliament of the party before the disposed party president, Otunnu decided to assent to the Democratic Alliance Protocol.
“We were not consulted for five years. This programme has been developed over five years. Yes, there were individuals from the party that went there, but the feelings of the party from the grassroots is; whose feelings you represent; is that were not presented at the TDA discussions.
We know that our leadership has not been warmly welcomed within the TDA because Olara’s camp people are in those meetings. We don’t know how seriously they are taking our leadership. They have not denounced the other side. If what is in the protocol damages UPC, a party that has been in the wilderness for 30 years. A party that wants to go back to the grassroots and rebuild and TDA is an obstacle in our path,” Akora said.
329 delegates voted that they would only associate with the alliance at the presidential level on conditions that Akena is considered the choice for the joint presidential candidate of TDA.
The delegates said if TDA ignores to have Akena as a joint opposition candidate, then they have nothing to do with the alliance.
Formed in June 2015, the alliance was aimed at fielding a single presidential candidate, joint candidates for all elective positions in the country ahead of 2016 general elections.
Opposition party leaders who signed the protocol are John Ken Lukyamuzi for Conservative Party, Barswale Kezaala for Democratic Party, Mugisha Muntu for FDC, Betty Olive Kamya Uganda Federal Alliance and Asuman Basalirwa for Jeema.
Others are Dick Odur for People’s Progressive Party, Gilbert Bukenya for Pressure for National Unity and Rrtd Bishop Zac Niringiye as eminent person’s representative.
Even former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, and his sister in-law Hope Mwesigye, under NRM pro positive change pressure group had joined the alliance.
It was also a demand for free and fair elections bearing in mind that government later refused to recognise opposition proposals for electoral reforms in the recently passes Constitutional Amendments Bill.
UPC becomes one of the first parties to withdraw from the alliance with the hope that it can field its own candidate to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in 2016 elections.
Otunnu to storm Uganda house
Meanwhile, Otunnu’s leadership has called upon members of the party from across the country to mobilise and storm the party headquarters at Uganda House due to the trespass by the Akena leadership.
Lucuma Okello, the spokesperson of the Otunnu leadership, says they have waited enough for the police to acquit themselves on the questions of law and order and the rule of law.
He says it about time that the party members who have on several occasions been prohibited from taking power into their hands to resort to what he calls ‘self-help’ to take back their party headquarters.