Leaked UPC Mails: Party Leaders Undermined Otunnu's Leadership

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In short
The email obtained by URN from a confidential source, show that many leaders within the party continuously undermined Otunnu's leadership and advised against him even before he took over the mantle of leadership.

A string of leaked emails from Uganda People's Congress-UPC shows that Dr Olara Otunnu could have bowed from the party leadership due internal to pressure from party members.
The email obtained by URN from a confidential source, show that many leaders within the party continuously undermined Otunnu's leadership and advised against him even before he took over the mantle of leadership.

The party leaders often vetted Otunnu's decisions on the historic leadership of the Late Dr Milton Obote and ‘found him wanting' in their assessment. In one email, a revered party leader writes "Politics is not for everyone and especially not for those so well acclaimed academically. 

I never heard of PhDs making good leaders and especially in politics. Look at Dr. Obote! The man didn't even graduate from university. But Obote was a tough cookie in politics". Otunnu was also faulted in many emails for siding with the Acholi arm of the party to influence decisions made by the party. In another email, a leader, whose name is withheld writes; 

"Dear All, I had the followings to say in 2010. Not because I had any ill feelings against Dr. Otunnu, but to the contrary I believed he was turning a wrong corner and that he was being used by fellow Acholi (very close to him) to fight a proxy battle for those (same UPC members) who were at the time finding it difficult to keep their toe-holds in position at Uganda House".

The emails show a party on the crossroads of deeply entrenched conflicts arising out of finances, tribe and donor funds. Even a day after Otunnu's announcement that he would not be running for the flag-bearing post for the Party in the 2016 elections, the email exchanges continued, this time though, with laid back analysis.

"Dear All, I said it loud and clear many times here before that Dr. O. Otunnu needed to have come as a laid back Desmond Tutu, a valued senior citizen, a world figure etc to try and bring the masses of the people together - above political parties and religion. That is where he belongs or now belonged. Some of us knew what was on the ground. 

Finally it has come to pass that all those accolades associated with greatness and integrity may now get tainted, watered down and the old saying in Acoli (Iromo neko jobi mia ento wie acel ne bedo in) may apply very accurately in his case. Most of any unfortunate ills of UPC from now and may be in future will be blamed on him. It is such a pity" reads the email.

UPC has been embroiled in leadership wrangles leading to a case before high court. The wrangles, openly displayed in the media portrayed Otunnu as a stay-away leader from the day to day running of the party. In one mail, a leader of the party openly criticizes Otunnu of having a weak leadership and grip of the party adding that, the party needs to look for younger blood to lead the party 

"But I don't think we have seen the end of UPC. Otunnu is just weak. And we said that here many times before. They need to keep looking for a stronger younger blood to lead the party". It reads. Otunnu, who kept a silent presence on the mail thread would later respond only once with a five page letter to the national chairman saying he would not be seeking re-election as party president but rather devote his left time as president towards effecting ‘democratic change' in the country.

In the letter that is heavily worded - a character trait of Otunnu, he argues that he has always sought for funding from the Milton Obote Foundation to stage the Delegates Conference and the Convocation of the National Council but to no avail. The letter which he wrote on the 21st of February this year, two weeks before he resigned publicly at Uganda House, was received by the National Chairman Professor Edward Kakonge.  


About the author

Raymond Mujuni
Raymond Mujuni is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Mujuni has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Presently a Law student at Makerere University, Kampala, Mujuni started out as a freelancer for URN in 2012.

Mujuni is an investigative journalist, especially interested in Security, Science and Technology. An avid sports fan, Mujuni volunteers with the charity organisation 40 Days/40 Smiles.