Uganda Peoples Congress
Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
Misrepresentation of UPC and Party President
25 October 2006
- Uganda Peoples Congress and I, note with great concern the deliberate and systematic misrepresentation of the nature of our involvement in the inter party political dialogue, the G6 arrangement, and my attendance at national functions and events.
- This campaign of misrepresentation and distortion by our colleagues in the opposition and the media of what is happening in UPC and my presence at National events is not only aimed at undermining the party and my integrity but is a big threat to the survival and growth of democracy, civil politics, peace and national stability. I have therefore decided to address you specifically on these matters to correct the gross simplification of the facts about my party and myself.
- UPC is an experienced and mature party that has twice led this country. It is therefore well versed with pragmatic statesmanship, political grandstanding and infantile militancy is not our style. We have consistently stated our position and given reasons for participating in the Inter Party Committee. Our quest is to follow the implementation of the issues we raised in our memorandum to President Museveni during the first consultative meeting with the former Presidential candidates and leaders of political parties to its logical conclusion in the interest of our nation. Critical issues we raised are;
- Establishment of an Independent Truth and National Reconciliation Commission which has become the subject of National debate in the political circles, media and the public generally. Last Sunday, the edition of the Monitor adopted this as their position, Credit need to go to UPC for consistently and persistently raising the issue.
- Proper management of the economy and natural resources. Without clear economic policies, this country is doomed. The Agoa case of the government takeover of Tri Star is a serious issue that should not be ignored. Its failure is a cause for worry for private investments in the country. UPC has consistently and persistently blazed the trail in pressing this issue.
- The need for a national conference to chart the way forward for our country involving all stake holders like Political parties, Religious Organizations, Civil Society and the Donor Community .UPC raised this issue in its election manifesto of 2006 and its memorandum to the President. This is even more relevant now in light of the events in Juba.
- For our friends who are busy conducting the campaigns loudly in the media and other fora against the Inter Party Committee and UPC, we can only say they are misrepresenting the facts and the law. Their political style is different from ours and they cannot expect us to follow them blindly. UPC is a party with experience and tested vision for this country. It brought this country to independence as one unit through negotiations and not political brinkmanship. It will end dictatorship and nurture full time democracy by the same method that is negotiations and electoral victory.
- Some of our colleagues still long for the G6 arrangement from which we had withdrawn as it had accomplished its objectives of ushering in multi-party democracy. To consolidate the same and allow democracy to grow, we need sound statesmanship which entails engaging the Government actively in as many fora as possible and not empty demagogic rhetoric that achieves nothing but inflames feelings.
- Those who claim that Inter Party Committee is illegal or unconstitutional are completely wrong. Is it because it is not specifically provided for in the constitution that is why they claim it is illegal and unconstitutional?
- The very same people who claim that the Inter party Committee is illegal or unconstitutional are the same people who loudly continue to demand for the "G6" group. Where is G6 group specifically provided for in the constitution?
- Just like the Inter Party Committee, they are covered by Art 29 (1) of the Constitution – Freedom of Association. It is simplistic notion that any working committee for whatever purpose must first be specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The Constitution lays broad principles and details are in Acts of Parliament, regulations, Bylaws, administrative practices and norms.
- Art. 71 (2) of the Constitution allows parliament to prescribe a code of conduct for political parties and provide for the establishment of the National Consultative Form. This Article of the Constitution was operationalized by the Political Parties and Organization of Art No. 18 of 2005 which came with force on Nov. 21, 2005. That Article was to prescribe a code of conduct for Political Parties and to establish the National Consultative Forum whose function is simply to liaise with Electoral commission on electoral matters and resolving disputes between Political Parties.
- It is amazing that our detractors are so engrossed in wanting this "for limited purpose" National Consultative Forum in place with the code of conduct passed by the NRM dominated Parliament in place rather than the Inter Party Committee with "unlimited" mandate to discuss anything under the sun which contain all the issues Ugandans care about. To UPC, the choice is clear. We shall bring to the table those issues that matters to Ugandans in the Inter Party Committee rather than the limited issues on campaigns and quarrels between parties which is in the function of the National Consultative Forum.
- The questions being raised of my presence and attendance of national functions and events is the most revealing of the latest smear campaign, for there are certain elementary requirement for the growth and survival of constitutional and democratic systems of government which cannot be taken for granted. Attending the State of Nations address, opening of Parliament, Independence Day celebrations and launching of the Fast Tracking of East Africa Political Federations should not be interpreted as compromising my position with the NRM government. In any case, as a constitutional opposition, much as we disagree with the NRM government, in the spirit of promoting and fostering national dialogue and playing our role as a civil opposition, I attend these functions and engage the government in dialogue so as to agree to settle certain national issues within the framework of the constitution. We shall not advocate for unconstitutional means for the settlement of national disputes and resolving disagreements.
- We are of course organizing the UPC annual delegate's conference as per our constitution. The rumors being circulated that I will step down during the delegates conference and hand over to my son Hon. Jimmy Akena is a sarcastic fabrications by our political detractors. Contrary to what they may manufacture, family, clan, ethnic or religious ties cannot be a basis for representation of any citizen or groups of citizens in UPC or in a democracy. In a democracy no body can represent his/her kinsmen simply because they are his or her kinsmen. His or her kinsmen can only be democratically represented when they can freely associate and campaign for elective offices, Freedom of political association with all other citizens in the country and the exercise of the freedom of political choice by the electorate between alternative candidates and parties. The UPC Constitution clearly provides for this which is consistent with the national Constitution, Political Parties and Organizations Act and other International Conventions.
- Those who are attacking me and the constitution of UPC while loudly proclaiming themselves to be pro-democracy politicians yet acting on anti democratic premises that family, clan and ethnic affinity is the basis of political association and political representation are not only distorting and twisting facts but undermining our democratic and constitutional processes since the rule governing the games of politics is very clear. Hon. Jimmy Akena won by a clear majority in Lira Municipality on his own.
- Finally, I urge all Congressmen, Congress Women and our supporters to stay on course and continuously promote the shared values which our party stands for. Don't be diverted and taken up by political propaganda of the detractors of UPC.UPC is to too big for NRM or any other political party to swallow but let's be law abiding citizens as we exercised our constitutional rights as a well informed experienced civil opposition political party. We shall Rise and Shine again.
For God and my Country
Mama Miria Kalule Obote
President, Uganda Peoples Congress