Uganda Peoples Congress
UGANDA PEOPLES CONGRESS
UPC Registration And Campaigns
- We continue to receive inquiries from party members, the press, the International Community and friends in the opposition as to whether and when the UPC will register under the Political Parties and Organisations Act, 2002 (PPOA) and participate in the 2006 elections. Even our detractors are wondering why we have not registered.
- The UPC wishes to clarify that we are in principle not opposed to registration. In many democracies today, unlike in the past, Political Parties do register by filing their Constitutions, physical and postal addresses, as well as particulars of their office bearers. Such registration is merely formal and enables a Political Party to freely and actively participate in politics.
- The UPC is anxious and ready to participate in free and fair competitive multiparty elections at all levels whether in 2006 or at any earlier date.
- However, UPC remains opposed to registration under the draconian Political Parties and Organisations Act (PPOA) because registration under this law does not enable the party to freely and democratically organise and participate in politics. Instead, it imposes further restrictions on the party and debars it from active and effective participation in the politics of our motherland. This law is a poisoned chalice and a strategy of the NRM one party-cum military dictatorship to cast in concrete the bondage around the neck of the Political Parties.
- Members of UPC have inherent and inalienable rights to belong to their party, to exercise their rights and freedoms of association, assembly, speech, demonstration, conscience, thought and participation in the political life of the country. This is why we cannot cede away our rights and willingly subject ourselves to the restrictions imposed by this law. We cannot commit political suicide by registering under a law which: -
- Compels us to register as a corporate body with all the attendant dangers of being subjected to collective fines, punishments and the risk of being wound up as an organisation as provided in section 6 (3) and (4) of the PPOA.
- Allows us to elect members to the "national conference", a body strange to the UPC Constitution, only in the forth year of the term of Parliament [see Section 10(4) of PPOA].
Effectively, this means that the UPC would be unable to freely constitute its National Council and Annual Delegates Conference. Without these national bodies, the party cannot promulgate policies or elect its national leaders. How can we subject ourselves to such a law?
- Allows us to hold only one meeting per district and only within one month after registration and for the sole purpose of electing members of the "national conference", a body that does not exist in the UPC Constitution, and thereafter to dismantle all structures set up in the district for that purpose See S.10 (8) and (9) of PPOA which provides as follows:-
(8) After the issue of the certificate of registration to a political party or organisation under Section 7 of this Act, the political party or organisation may, within one month after the issue to it of the certificate of registration , hold only one meeting in each district to elect members to the national conference for the purpose of electing its first members of the executive committee; and after the election of the members at the district, any structures established for the purpose of that election shall cease to exist.Effectively this means that we cannot have branches and other party organs functioning in the districts and that we cannot have public meetings any where in the districts after registration!
(9) Any political party or organisation which holds a meeting contrary to subsection (8) of this section or otherwise acts contrary to that subsection, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine exceeding three hundred currency points; and every officer of the political party or organisation who contributes in any way to the contravention, also commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three hundred currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.
- Debars thousands of our members who have been compelled by political repression, lack of employment and educational opportunities to live outside Uganda for more than 3 years to aspire for and take office in their party [see S.13 (b) of PPOA]. We cannot be party to a scheme which seeks to disenfranchise thousands of our members.
- Effectively outlaws the free opposition and entrenches the movement party as a one party state. If we register under this law, we shall be legitimising an immoral law and the undemocratic system that it entrenches.
- The UPC will relentlessly intensify the campaign against the one party cum military rule in Uganda. We shall continue our political campaign to free the people of Uganda from 19 years of military bondage. To this end we shall:
- Pursue to its logical conclusion Constitutional Petition No. 7 of 2002 against the Political Parties and organizations Act, 2002. The Constitutional Court is scheduled to hear this Petition in October this year.
- Reorganise and strengthen our branches at parish/ward levels and other party organs at Constituency and District levels through the vehicle of the National Organising Committee (NOC).
- As human beings with inalienable human rights and freedoms guaranteed in chapter 4 of the Constitution, we shall not be deterred in our legitimate campaigns and activities by threats from General Museveni. Threats constituted by military deployment at every sub-county and further chaka mchaka courses will only strengthen UPC's resolve to struggle until the last vestiges of the movement dictatorship are dismantled.
- To this end we condemn in the strongest terms possible Gen. Museveni's threats against Nobert Mao, Cecilia Ogwal, Reagan Okumu and Okello Okello. Gen. Museveni's claims that although he has a lot of power and guns, he has not killed these named enemies of his only betrays his unconstitutional and sadistic thinking and actions. He surely knows that he has no legal let alone Constitutional authority to kill anyone. Why then does it ever occur to him that he can kill? Does he want to remind us of the massacres of Mukura, Acholi Pii, Corner Kilak, Buchuro and Atiaka to mention only a few?
These are threats of a besieged, wounded and collapsing dictatorship that will not stand in UPC's way to free the people of this country and usher in a truly competitive multiparty political dispensation where the UPC will as in the past play a leading role.
For God and My Country.Henry Mayega
Vice Chairman, PPC
1st September, 2004