Uganda Peoples Congress
The Party President
Distinguished Members of CEC
Congress Women and Men
REPORT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL TO THE CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 26TH MAY, 2007 HELD AT UGANDA HOUSE, KAMPALA.
- I join the Party President to welcome you to this historic meeting of the CEC. The last CEC meeting was held in 1985. Shortly after that, local and international conspirators used and abused certain military leaders to overthrow the elected UPC government on 27th July, 1985. The imposed government of Bazilio and Tito Okello was short lived and was in turn overthrown by Yoweri Museveni's NRA on 25th January, 1986.
- The two decades of NRM rule from 1986 to 2006 have been a horrendous nightmare for the UPC, its members and leaders. Not only did the dictatorship ban political party activity including recruitment of members, organizing and holding of public meetings and participating in elections and politics but vindictive attacks were made on UPC leaders and members after the plunder and vandalisation of our party headquarters.
- In these two decades, our leaders and members were subjected to brutal death, illegal arrest and detention, torture, exile and massive dismissal from public office (called retrenchment). On top of this wanton abuse of our human rights, the members economic foundations in the form of organized marketing structures like marketing boards and cooperative and cheap means of transport like the railway network were systematically destroyed. In all the UPC strongholds, people's herds of cattle were stolen in broad daylight by NRA assisted cattle rustlers and food granaries destroyed in a civil war imposed on our defenseless people. Without a public voice, the party was then subjected to a most heinous and relentless deionization campaign. The NRA/NRM campaign was intended to kill and bury UPC from the body politics of Uganda.
- That we are meeting today is clear testimony of our resilience and survival. This victory has not come by accident or sheer luck or coincidence. It is the fruit of two decades of a well coordinated survival strategy and anti-dictatorship struggle that entailed:
- Adoption of improvisation structures to keep the party alive including the PPC, PRC, NOC, CGC and CSC that handed over to the current elected leadership.
- Waging a relentless media campaign against the dictatorship in the local and international media.
- Waging a diplomatic campaign against the dictatorship by exposing their lies, corruption, human rights abuses and mismanagement of the economy including plunder of donor funds.
- waging of a legal campaign through the courts against human rights abuses, unconstitutional laws and constitutional provisions that violated core democratic values and inherent fundamental rights and freedoms. Your party took the lead to challenge the Constituency Assembly Election Rules in 1993, the 1995 Constitution especially the infamous article 269 and all its cousins in 1997, the Referendum Act of 1999, the replacement Referendum Act of 2000, the Political Parties and Organizations Act of 2002.
- Under the sustained pressure of the UPC the NRA/NRM dictatorship cracked and with the UPC court victory against the 2002 Political Parties and Organisations Act on 17/11/2004, it now became possible for your Party to register on 22/3/2005. We should salute all our leaders especially Dr. A. M. Obote, of happy memory, for leading and sustaining this campaign.
- Although formal multipartism was restored and our Party registered and freed from several legal shackles, the ugly scars of 20 years of dictatorship still live with us today. These include:
- The lingering survival of the individual merit principle and politics and its attendant predisposition to members' indiscipline and self service and an aversion to sacrifice for the Party's good.
- Breakdown of Party structures that calls for re-establishment and strengthening.
- Serious lack of human, material and monetary resources.
- Continued bickering by self centered and sometimes misled members who seek quick fixes and populist "solutions" to serious and entrenched problems.
- Since the Party's registration on 22/3/2005, your leaders have struggled to get the Party back on its feet. In spite of several challenges including want of resources and a still hostile political environment it was possible in only about five (5) months in 2005 for grass root elections to be organized and to put in place branch, constituency, district and national structures including this Central Executive by November, 2005. Although the exercise was not 100% perfect it happily culminated into a very successful and open delegates conference where seven (7) candidates contested the Party Presidency. The delegates in that august conference elected the first woman Party President in UPC and Uganda. In exercise of her constitutional mandate she appointed a team of national party officials. This team was later restructured and streamlined. We can now take stock and report to you what has been done over the last 18 months by your national team.
- The first challenge of the new leadership was to prepare for and effectively participate in the 2006 and February/March general elections. In a space of barely two months we were able to draft and produce probably the best election manifesto that any political party in Uganda has ever produced. Today we record our gratitude to the background work done by the Constitutional Steering Committee led by Haji Badru Kendo Wegulo on the manifesto. They had the foresight to begin the monumental work which the new team completed less than two months after the delegates conference.
- With very modest resources we were able to mount a very vigorous issues based campaign for the Presidency and Parliament. Although we did not win the Presidential elections and sent only 9 members to Parliament, our participation, at short notice, demonstrated the viability of the Party and victory is ours to partake of if we all dedicate ourselves to work harder and more selflessly to rebuild the Party.
- Ever since these general elections our Party has participated in several by-elections. We have so far won the Chairmanship of Apac District. Only last Wednesday, we completed primaries for the UPC candidate for Oyam Parliamentary seat by-election and we are hoping for victory.
- Our party is re-known for the brilliance of its ideas. In pursuit of this ideal we have been meticulously working on a strategic plan that gives a framework for the activities and programmes of the Party over a five year time line (2006-2011). The strategic plan which will happily be laid before you is the result of:
- A strength weakness opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis that was carried out beginning in September, 2005 (under the CSC leadership).
- Review of Reports several post-election committees namely:
- Election Evaluation Committee
- Secretariat Restructuring Committee
- Party Promotion Committee
- Constitutional Review Committee
- Reconciliation Committee
- Review of research reports
- We record here the assistance of the International Republic Institute (IRI) in facilitating the strategic plan exercise. This Strategic Plan should not only be discussed today but we plan for its massive and wide circulation throughout the country.
- Your Party is also famed for its institutional organization. This is founded on its Constitution that was first promulgated in 1960 and last amended in 1970. Proposals to amend this Constitution in the 1980's never bore fruit largely due to the military disruption of 1985. As you are aware, the internal and external dynamics of our party, Uganda and the wider world in which we live and operate continue to change. We too have to change and adopt to the ever changing geo-political environment if we are to survive and remain relevant as a nationalistic political party. I am glad to report that at this meeting we shall begin discussion on a draft new Constitution for our Party. This discussion will later be taken to the National Council and the Delegates Conference which has the mandate to enact the Party Constitution and amendments thereto.
- Over the past one year, we have had a vibrant youth programme to recruit and train the youth who constitute the largest and most active sector of our membership and national population. Youth workshops have been held in Gulu (June 2006) Soroti (August 2006) Mityana (March 2007) and at the end of this month in Bushenyi. Youth in higher institutions of learning have been re-organised into vibrant branches. Your party has participated actively in guild elections at these institutions. We have managed to win in some tertiary institutions and a university.
- We have also finished plans to launch a nationwide women programme in the not too distant future.
- With the assistance of IRI we have had pilot district research and training programmes in the Districts of Kayunga, Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara. The roll out of his programme is set to continue into more districts.
- We have in the last one year or so restructured and energized the Party Secretariat by recruiting:
- A Bureaux Secretary for Finance and Administration
- A Bureaux Secretary for Communication.
- A Bureaux Secretary for Research Information and Publication.
- A Bureaux Secretary for Mobilization.
- A Bureaux Secretary for Women
- A Bureaux Secretary for Youth.
- A Personal Secretary to the Party President.
- The secretariat has been equipped and hooked to inernet to easy communication internally and externally.
- These will be the building blocks for a vibrant and resourceful civil service for the Party which will be expanded as and when resources are available. We are in final stages of finalizing an operations manual for all party offices to serve all our officials and staff.
- To ensure that there is a return to order and discipline in the Party, we are soon completing work on a code of conduct and disciplinary organs and procedures for enactment by the Annual Delegates Conference.
- You will recall that way back in 2002 your Party was a founder member of the Group of Seven (G.7) Political Parties that metamophosised into the G.6. The written objective of this loose grouping was to campaign for a return to multiparty democracy in Uganda. This objective was achieved although there are residual problems to contend with. However, some of our partners in the G.6 and indeed some of our own members abused this worthwhile cooperation to try to create a coalition or new movement and to threaten our independent ideology and existence. To preserve the aims and objective of our great party and to guarantee the renaturing of multiparty democracy, we took the decision to withdraw from this loose association. We made it clear that we can still cooperate on a case by case basis or under a new negotiated arrangement that preserves our integrity and ideology. We may soon revisit the idea G6 as we intent to ask our colleagues in other political parties to reconstitute a new G6 cooperation.
- Last but not least you must have read media reports about disagreements between the UPC and the MOF. Since this dispute could not be amicably resolved and ended up in the Courts of law, it's not prudent to discuss it here.
Congresswomen and men I thank you for your indulgence and I wish you happy deliberations.
For God and my Country
Peter Mukidi Walubiri