Since the end of the 2011 general elections, the party has ignored the ongoing by elections in the country. After dismal performance in the 2011 presidential elections, the party has failed to field a candidate in the six by-elections held so far. FDC and DP have participated in and won at least five by-elections between them.
The Uganda People’s Congress—UPC needs to rebrand and give young people a platform for growth if it is to remain relevant in the politics of Uganda.
Political analyst Nicholas Opio says UPC has to turn the page and get in tune with the aspirations of the current generation and let the elders act as advisors to the party.
According to Opio, the party which won Uganda’s Independence in 1962 and went on to rule the country twice, is still dealing with the baggage of Buganda in Luwero, the fall out of the Acholi and Lango generals in UPC among others. The two tribes, which made up the bulk of the national army between 1980 and 1985, fell out at the peak of the Luweero war that brought President Museveni to power. It was this fall out in July 1985 that the Acholi officers led by Generals Tito Okello Lutwa and Bazilio Olara Okello capitalized on to overthrow President Milton Obote.
Since the end of the 2011 general elections, the party has ignored the ongoing by elections in the country. After dismal performance in the 2011 presidential elections, the party has failed to field a candidate in the six by-elections held so far. Other opposition parties, especially FDC and DP, have fielded and won at least five of the by-elections.
Opio blames the party’s redundancy on its internal wrangles and failure to divorce itself from the Milton Obote Foundation.
Opio also blames the mess on the election of Olara Otunnu, who was out of tune with the current political dynamics, as party president. He also says the party lacks a credible legitimate process of choosing leaders.
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He adds that of all the political parties in the country, UPC has the widest grassroots structure. However, party members are discouraged because these structures are idle and the party leadership doesn’t seem to show direction of how it should run.
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UPC has ten members of Parliament coming from the districts of Oyam, Apac, Kole, Alebtong, Lira and Otuke, showing a clear picture of lack of support base in the rest of the country.
Opio stresses the need for UPC to look beyond Lango for party representation and portray a national character.
Joseph Bossa, the party Vice President, however, explains that they have not been able to participate in the ongoing by elections because they have not completed their renewal of leadership in the branches countrywide.
Bossa says they need to identify their leadership instead of having masqueraders to embarrass the leadership. However, the process is yet to begin even though Bossa says it should be completed before the end of this year.
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Okello Lucima, the UPC spokesperson notes that the struggle in Uganda is broader than winning one seat. Lucima notes that there is need to focus on the contribution of the election to the party’s strategic interests and look at the broader objectives of the democratic forces of the country.
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He adds that UPC has also encouraged their party members to support a strong candidate of another party to contest for a particular seat. However, currently they are not sure if they have the support base and proper structures which died in many parts of the country after the 20 years of political parties being banned.
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