In the year 2019, Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu wrote a letter to the president that contained criticisms of the nation’s administration. The letter almost passed without much fuss. As always, many had waved it off as another of the opposition’s rantings.
However, when a king addresses a subject; great audience is accorded the subject by many. Thus, Hon. Kyagulanyi’s popularity was boosted when Museveni responded to the letter. Political analysts could agree that if no response had been given to the letter, it would have taken much longer for the honourable to become a thorn in the side of the long ‘serving’ president.
Therefore, today, Kyagulanyi has garnered support at the expense of the NRM. They that were once comfortable now dance to his tunes!
So many resources have been put into hindering Kyagulanyi’s political progress. With an already established fan base from his music career; as well as the artful nature of his music, his message was passed on quickly and easily. His calls for change and true democracy were heard across this land. Like the old African tradition of passing down culture in folk tales and songs, Kyagulanyi’s message echoed as much in the day as in the night. Unlike presidential speeches that are forgotten soon, the lad’s songs are played like soundtracks to life.
His pressure group took off like a Space X rocket; with new technology and higher functionalities. Like bellows to fire, the old guard ill-fatedly continued to lift Kyagulanyi’s base with their frightful reactions to his pace.
The most recent of these has been the Electoral Commission’s treatment of the newly[ish] formed National Unity Platform (NUP). I’ll make myself clear, here and now! I understand that the EC is only executing its duty. When a petition is presented to it, the body has to review it. The result of its review shall determine how independent the body is! In the meantime, I can only say that the EC, like the Police, is a State tool. Sadly, there isn’t much the EC can do about it!
When the People Power movement tried to reserve the name with hopes of using it for a political party, whenever they’d form it, the name had already been reserved. It became clear to them that the reservation was made to hinder their growth. Consequently, the movement’s leaders had to find a way of pushing ahead. Secrecy would perhaps ease their troubles. Operating without state attention would give them leeway for working towards a 2021 presidential ticket for Kyagulanyi.
Therefore, in July 2019, the movement’s inner circle initiated a legal process to transform the pressure group into a political party. The way forward was a kind of merger with an existent party. There were options for them to choose from. The winning candidate being National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP). The little known yet well founded party would make the perfect hive for Kyagulanyi’s future.
Having registered in 2004, the merger only required application forms to change the name to the now known NUP. The party president was subsequently chosen in a delegates’ meeting this year. The EC shortly stamped NUP into existence with the only hold up being the party colour.
The issue of the colour, I’d say, is valid. The laws of the country clearly bar a party from registering political party tools that belong to an already existing party. Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has held the red colour for as long as it’s had its grotesque involvement in history. The EC did not contest the People Power colour while it was still a movement because the Political Parties and Other Organisations Act did not apply to it. However, as a political party, it ought to adhere to the law.
Nevertheless, the bigger issue for Kyagulanyi and his NUP is the enemy within. Having finalised everything and announced his presidency, a petition was filed against his acquisition of the party and its leadership. The petition filed with the EC contests the changed name, colour and leadership. EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, says the petition is under review.
The petition claims that the change breaches the party constitution and the national constitution on internal democracy of political parties. However, it is unlikely that the founder and former president of the party, Moses Nkonge Kibalama, would act in violation of his own laws.
The secrecy that surrounded the merger meant that many of the NURDP delegates would have been kept out of the plot. Nevertheless, the party leadership understands its laws well enough to effect the change without causing a breach that would nullify their validity. In other words, Mr. Kibalama comprehends his party’s laws thoroughly enough to find a loophole. Of course, working around the law isn’t the same as breaking it.
This means that the NUP delegates who are petitioning against the change are being spiteful and treacherous. Indeed, I sympathise with them. Having been left out of the whole process, they wouldn’t imprint well on the new party. Nonetheless, if the laws of the party were followed, however unfairly and unjustifiably – which I think they were – the result is as solid as the earth’s iron core.
The reason I’ve used the term treacherous above is because I believe that these members may be the workings of NUP’s opposition. Another tact to wane Kyagulanyi’s efforts against the ‘despots’; as he calls them. It is not uncommon for the man in the throne to use uncouth means to thwart his opposition. At a certain point, when FDC’s flagbearer had raging support, the Head of State didn’t hesitate to trump up charges against the FDC man. The former even claimed the latter had HIV/AIDS when there was a lot of stigma.
Truly, manipulating the opposition’s weaklings to slow or set back Kyagulanyi’s steady political growth would be a step up the moral ladder. It is possible that these members, with their anger and resentment, were easily bought into betraying their own party.
Of course, the EC’s claim of having not suspected any foul play by the party’s president to change its name can be valid. Often, the party’s validation for the change would be a prerequisite for the application to go through. Thus, the change was effected legally and the petitioning delegates are the other side’s cronies. If no such validation is required, then what’s the squirming about?
The EC then becomes the tool for impeding political evolution by the Kyagulanyi front because it has to respond to such a phoney petition. The manipulators swung their puppets into action to move an independent body towards blockading NUP’s advancement to the 2021 elections.
In the meantime, with the police teargassing Kyagulanyi – the current strength of the opposition – whenever he has to attend a radio or television program, the NRM continues its headway to 2021 comfortably. There is very little shame left amongst the clan heads and with time, there won’t be a wit of it left.
Now, the man has gloved his hands for battle; police on the one hand and the EC on the other. Surely, all this fret from NRM and its flag bearer only makes Kyagulanyi an incredibly desirable candidate as we head into the 2021 polls. Truly though, the age-old oppressive electoral culture shall prevail!
DISCLAIMER: Any and all views expressed in the article are not those of The Investigator News. They are an expression of the author’s personal opinion. Usage, of any kind, of the information herein is at the user’s own risk. The Investigator News shall not be liable for any consequences arising from such usage.
- Joel Kenneth Ndawula is a Student of Law at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi. He is an inspired writer, the editor and author here; a blogger of sorts.
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