By Misairi Kawuma
A Section of people claiming to be some of the founders of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party(NURP) have petitioned the Electoral Commission challenging the acquisition of their party by Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine.
In the petition, the lawyer says that the resolution amending the party name from National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) to the National Unity Platform never complied with the party constitution and provisions of the Political parties Organizations Act 2005.
The founders of National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) through their lawyer James Byabakama have petitioned the political party regulator- Electoral Commission challenging the unlawful takeover of their party by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Byabakama challenges the unlawful resolutions/decisions/transactions entered into on behalf of the said Party, which violate the Party Constitution and national laws.
“Under Section 4 and 21 of the Political Parties 8 Organizations A. 2005, we are instructed by the founders of the National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP). Which was registered as a political party in 2004 to lodge a complaint,” Byabakama said in a petition sent to EC.
Byabakama raises four fundamental questions challenging the takeover of NURP;
a) The resolution amending the Party name from National Unity. Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) as per its certificate of registration issued on 28/12/2004 to “The National Unity Platform’. (NUP) published under General Notice No 838 of 2019 in the Uganda Gazette dated 121812019 and certificate of registration issued on 28/8/2019 without complying with the Party Constitution 2004 and provisions of the Political Parties and Organizations Act 2005.
c) The resolution dated 5/12/2017 Illegally nominating someone described in the resolution as the “Ghetto President, H. E. Bobi Wine Kyadondo East MP Hon. Kyagulanyi Robert” as the Party’s Presidential flag bearer in the 2021 Presidential elections, many years before the due time for such nominations and without following the Party Constitution and national election laws
d) The extra ordinary Delegates Conference allegedly held on 14/7/2020 and attended by only 51 unverified members out of a Delegates Membership 1st of 400 delegates which rubber stamped Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert as the new Party President and his associates as Party office bearers unopposed without conducting a proper election in violation of the Party Constitution and provisions in the national Constitution on internal democracy of political parties
e) The deliberate alteration of the list of founder members/subscribers of the Party in order to aid and abet the aforesaid schemes.
He further adds that Electoral Commission is under a statutory duty to address and rectify the aforesaid illegalities. hence this complaint
“It you fail or omit to exercise your statutory mandate in the matter, our clients who are the Party founders will have no option but to Join the Electoral Commission to legal proceedings intended to restore control of the NURP Party to its rightful founders and members,” added Byabakama.
Responding to these allegations on social media, Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine said these are machinations orchestrated by a panicking regime.
According to the Electoral Commission website, the NUP was registered under the Political Parties and Organisations Act, and had its application for registration gazetted on December 28th, 2004 as the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP).
Two weeks ago, Bobi Wine unveiled the National Unity Platform (NUP) as his new political party ahead of the 2021 general election which had metamorphosed from the National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP).
The Kyadondo East legislator was subsequently endorsed as the new party leader.
However, the group through its lawyers has written to the Electoral Commissioning challenging the entire process that saw their party change hands.
“Under section 4 and 21 of the political parties and organizations act 2005, we are instructed by the founders of the National unity, Reconciliation and Development party (NURP) which was registered as a political party in 2004.
To lodge a complaint against the following unlawful resolutions/ decisions/ transactions entered into on behalf of the said party which violates the party constitution and national laws,” James Byamukama, the lawyer representing the group has written in the August, 3, 2020 petition.
Speaking during the party’s unveiling last month, Kyagulanyi said that “In July 2019, we changed the name of the party from NURDP to NUP.”
The change of name was approved on July 15, 2019, by the EC and it was gazetted on August 12, 2019 and according to the Electoral Commission, NUP is located at Plot 79 Buganda Road.
Bobi Wine leadership challenged
Speaking during the function last month, Moses Kibalama Nkonge the party president said after changing hands, the Kyadondo East legislator had dully been appointed as the subsequent president after going through all the legal process.
However, according to the petition to the Electoral Commission, the process was fraudulent and never followed the law.
“The extraordinary delegates conference allegedly held on 14/7/2020 and attended by only 51 members out of a delegates membership list of 400 delegates which rubber-stamped Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert as new party president and his associates as party flag bearers unopposed without conducting a proper election in violation of party constitution and provisions in the national constitution on internal democracy of political parties”.
The petitioners also challenge the move to change the party colour and symbol.
According to the petition, the party founder members want the Electoral Commission to help them rectify the said anomalies or else they take another legal action.
“If you fail or omit to exercise your statutory mandate in the matter, our clients who are the party founders will have no option but to join the electoral commission to legal proceedings intended to restore control of the NURP party to its rightful founders and members,” the founders say through their lawyer.
Bobi Wine fights back
However, in a post on his social media pages, the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine has fought back, saying this is part of the efforts by the state to bring him down.
“When we tried to reserve the name ‘People Power’ in 2019, we found that the regime had deployed its apologists to reserve the name so as to block us from registering a political party. Then, we set out to do consultations as guaranteed by the laws of this land. Under the very eye of the Electoral Commission, our consultations were blocked and frustrated,”Bobi Wine said.
“A few days back, we dropped a bombshell that threw them into a state of panic. We had been doing all processes legally but quietly for some months.”
The Kyadondo East legislator said despite being downplayed mostly by the state, they have continued to prove to be strong contenders in the country’s politics, adding that they will not wither down.
“They first tried to downplay us, but that did not work. The thousands of people, including leaders who have been flocking our offices to register have scared the hell out of them. The regime is trying to clutch onto anything that will save it from the inevitable collapse and embarrassment that awaits it.”
Bobi Wine explained that the party in question has been in existence for many years and that nobody had ever raised any complaint against it, adding that the changes were made in compliance with the provisions of the laws governing the country and gazette by the Electoral Commission.
“…..because Kyagulanyi is party president and they are seeing how much support we are receiving across the nation, they will use all sorts of people to file bogus cases and do all manner of things,”Bobi Wine said.
“My assurance to you comrades- no machinations of any kind have ever saved these dictators. The winds of change can never be stopped by petty laws enacted by petty despots, or even petty schemes instigated by scared dictators. This new attempt will fail, like all other attempts before them.”
Since joining politics in 2017 as the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, all has not been rosy for the ruling government that has done all within its means to counter Bobi Wine’s efforts.
Matters were made worse when Kyagulanyi announced last year he would challenge the incumbent, President Museveni in the 2021 elections.
He has continued to face a number of hurdles along the way, the latest being the petition against his new party.