Monday, August 30, 2010

UPC quits opposition coalition

Sunday, 29th August, 2010
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Otunnu appearing on a Vision Voice talkshow
Otunnu appearing on a Vision Voice talkshow
By Barbara Among and Moses Mulondo

THE Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party, one of the five political parties that form the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC), has opted out of the coalition over what it called irreconcilable reasons.

The party is expected to announce its fallout today after a meeting at the Christ the King Conference Hall.

The decision to pull out of the coalition was arrived at over the weekend after a consultative meeting with the party’s national leaders.

“There will not be speculations about our position. We shall tell Ugandans whether we remain in IPC or we move out,” said UPC secretary general Joseph Bbosa.

However, sources in the party said the leaders agreed to pull out. “The problem is how the party does it without hurting other opposition members,” a source said.

A split arose two weeks ago over how to move forward with the fight against the Electoral Commission (EC).

While UPC wanted the IPC not to participate in any activities organised by the EC, other members wanted the coalition to prepare for next year’s elections as it continued to fight the commission.

UPC President Olara Otunnu on Saturday said the core reason for the IPC was to have the commission disbanded. He added that the commission was not capable of delivering free and fair election.

But the IPC chairman and FDC president, Kizza Besigye, maintained: “We can discuss other issues but we can never boycott. We can fight the EC as we prepare for polls. We think a change in the commission is possible even towards elections.”

Sources said it was too late for UPC to reconsider its position, since the IPC campaigns end today and voting is tomorrow for a single opposition candidate.

The bickering is said to originate from the party’s disagreement with the dominate opposition party, the FDC. UPC accuses FDC of dishonesty and hijacking the coalition for its own gains.

“An example is when the former katikkiros were recently called to an FDC campaign launch in the Buganda region, which was disguised as an IPC meeting. It is this kind of behaviour of FDC using IPC to widen its political base that has made us move out of IPC,” the source said.

Political analyst, however, note that UPC’s pulling out of the coalition would hurt the opposition. “Going alone, will fracture the opposition,” said law professor Golooba Muteebi.

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