Below: Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) acting party president, Joseph Bossa (L) and spokesman, Okello-Luciima, addressing the media in Gulu.
“We know that the state is involved in the current mess in UPC where Obote’s son Jimmy Akena, took over the party’s headquarters at Uganda House in June 2015 by force. It is Museveni’s wish that no opposition political party should survive by 2021, but UPC will not go anywhere”
GULU-UGANDA: Two officials of the party of the late Dr. Apollo Milton Obote, the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC), have stated that the party will outlive President Museveni’s regime despite his pledge to get rid of opposition political parties in Uganda by 2021.
This assertion was made by the party’s acting president Mr. Joseph Bossa and the party’s spokesman, Mr. Okello-Luciima during a press briefing on the “State of the Party” on Thursday, September 13, 2016 from the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) in Gulu town.
“We know that the state is involved in the current mess in UPC where Obote’s son Jimmy Akena, took over the party’s headquarters at Uganda House in June 2015 by force. It is Museveni’s wish that no opposition political party should survive by 2021, but UPC will not go anywhere”, says Bossa.
He said if he is to compare UPC of Dr. Obote of Uganda with other historical parties in Africa; the Convention People’s Party (CPP) of Dr. Kwame-Nkrumah of Ghana, the United National Independent Party (UNIP) of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyata of Kenya, then UPC “is in a much stronger position than most of these historical parties”.
“The current squabbles within UPC are generated from without UPC. We have heard President Museveni say that there will be no opposition political party in Uganda by 2021. Museveni is trying to eliminate UPC and other parties, but UPC has not yet been sorted out. He is using some members of UPC to destroy UPC”, he says.
Mr. Okello-Luciima assured UPC members and all other Ugandans that UPC has “apostolic succession plan” and that people should not worry about Mr. Jimmy Akena’s (Obote’s son) continued stay in UPC party headquarters since he will be ousted by ballots, but not force.
“Any Tom, Dick and Harry can claim to be UPC party president, but UPC has apostolic succession plan since party presidents of the party are elected by our delegates’ conference only, and not any other organ. Don’t worry about Akena’s stay in Uganda House (UPC headquarter). We had not been operating from that office from 1971 to 1980. Controlling 6th Floor of Uganda House does not make him party president. He is there with the help of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party of President Museveni and the police”, says Luciima.
On June 5, 2015, Mr. Jimmy Akena, Obote’s son and Member of Parliament for Lira Municipality, forcefully seized the 6th Floor of Uganda House, which is the headquarters of UPC, with the help of police, and dislodged the UPC party president Dr. Olara-Otuunu and his executive from there. Akena claimed he had been elected President by majority UPC party members. This was after a botched delegates’ conference on May 30, 2015 where Akena was leading in votes counted against Joseph Bossa and others, but the result was cancelled by the party’s electoral commission.
After Akena seized Uganda House, Dr. Olara-Otuunu and his executive dragged Akena’s group to court for trespass amongst other accusations. court ruled on December 1, 2015 that Jimmy Akena and group were occupying Uganda House illegally, was never elected UPC party president and must vacate the party headquarter. Instead of complying with the court order, Akena secured a ring of armed Police personnel to legitimize his stay at Uganda House.
UPC Officials say Akena’s refusal to vacate Uganda House and his continued occupation under tight police guard is a making of Museveni’s NRM to destabilize, weaken and eventually kill the historical party. Dr. Olara-Otuunu has, since July 1, 2016, resigned from leading the party and he left his vice, Mr. Joseph Bossa, to take charge and hold fresh election within Six months.
Next plan of action
Mr. Bossa told journalists that he is currently on countrywide consultations with UPC party structures at the district levels with the sole aim of conducting fresh party presidential elections within six months.
“My aim and purpose is to organize transparent, credible election of the party president. We do not do anything underhand. We don’t have any roadmap in history. I need to consult with the leaders to seek their advice on the way forward”, he says.
He says the election will go on in three phases; convening the National Council meeting who should institute an electoral commission, organize district conferences who shall give preferences on proposed nominees of the party presidential candidate and subsequently the delegates’ conference who shall elect a president of the party.
It is still too early to know if Mr. Jimmy Akena will participate in the planned election or not but Joseph Bossa has revealed he won’t run.