UPC Party Out Of The 2021 Presidential Race

Photo of Mr Akena UPC ex-presidential candidate
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Information gathered by Wakeupafrica360’s correspondent in Uganda has it that the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) has declared that they will not field a presidential flag bearer in the 2021 General Election. Mr. Akena said he decided to run for the Lira East Municipality parliamentary seat instead of contesting for the presidential seat. According to him, top officials in the party were involved in the decision making as such it is not a new position because we have discussed it at different levels and we will continue to discuss it. He went further to cite Article 13 of the UPC Constitution which provides that the party president elected by the delegates conference becomes the flag bearer for the party in the general election. Mr Akena, who leads one of the factions, was elected unopposed on August 1 at a delegates conference which has since been contested by other UPC members as illegal. This becomes the second time in a row UPC does not take a shot at the presidency. Mr Akena also declined to run for presidency in the 2016 General Election and the party rallied behind former Prime Minister in government, Amama Mbabazi, under The Democratic Alliance election taskforce.

The last time UPC fielded a presidential candidate was in 2011 elections under the then party president, Mr Olara Otunnu. According to Mr. Akena, “ Opposition political parties need to prioritize where they can invest and avoid going into elections unguided.” He went on to cite how the fight to block the amendment and removal of the presidential age limit clause in the national Constitution failed because the Opposition could not raise one-third of the numbers required in the House to defeat the motion. The number sums up to 150 members of Parliament with the whole combined opposition not even up to 70. This becomes a problem because you need the numbers in parliament and this is what we don’t have said Mr. Akena.

He said UPC will focus on strengthening its grassroots structures and increasing representation at local government and parliamentary levels.

Mr Akena denied that UPC has diminished its ambitions of taking over the highest office in the country. However, this didn’t go down well with Mr. Dennis Enap, who contested for UPC presidency, who totally disagreed with Mr Akena. According to him, “by not fielding a presidential candidate, the party risks losing many of its members. Who will the party members vote? Members will be torn between Museveni, Bobi Wine… because of not having a candidate for presidency. The party risks losing its membership because of affiliations to other presidential candidates, “He also dismissed Mr Akena’s claim of focusing on building the party from the grass roots. According to him, “The party not fielding a presidential candidate has political effects on its strength of mobilization and our performance in areas outside Akena’s constituency will be poor,”
Currently, UPC has seven members in Parliament. It had 10 in the 9th Parliament and Mr Enap warns that the number will drop further. Also, Ms. Joy Ongom Atim, the Lira District Woman MP, and a member of UPC, said the party is not prepared to compete for presidency. She, however, admitted that having a presidential candidate would help the party increase its mobilization.

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