Akena speaks after ‘massive defection’ to NRM: ‘I’ve not lost my identity’

Briefly: Within six days of campaigns in Oyam North, UPC was able to receive over 170 converts from NRM, FDC and NUP parties.

Lira, July 4, 2023: On Thursday, July 4, in Iceme sub-county, the NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong announced before President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the ruling party had received over 900 converts mainly from Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party.  

The converts, Todwong said include district councillors who will sign cooperation documents with NRM after the Oyam North MP by-election.

Another set of converts includes well-known politicians in Lango sub-region: George Ojwang Opota, Krispus Ayena Odongo and George Opio Rashid.

Ayena, for example, urged his supporters to follow him into the yellow bus.

Ayena would later publicly ask Gen Museveni to deploy him for any assignment. “I’m ready,” he said.

For years, there have been debates asserting that UPC under Jimmy Akena is working with President Museveni and NRM collectively. While the debate is expected to go on, an official confirmation from Akena or his party is yet to be served.

And although some say Tuesday’s defection of top UPC members and their supporters to NRM is “not a deal and should not be debated”, it seems to have not hit the party that bad.

Responding to the defection and working with NRM, Akena also talked about the UPC ideology and way forward.

“…trying to find a way whereby we can sit through and resolve certain issues of common interest. So, I’m trying to see that we make politics which is more friendly than adversarial and that does not mean that I have lost my ideology or I have lost my identity…

“…and there is no way I’m going to accept to lose my identity or ideology because that has never been on the table. It has been how to forge a way in which we can handle politics.


On if he feels bothered that the two UPC female MPs, Santa Alum Ogwang and Betty Amongi did not show up for Dr Apio Otuko’s campaign trails, Akena said, “It’s something I factored in. If you look – the Late was working closely with Honorable Betty; Betty was the senior minister and he was the junior minister in the same ministry.

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“I did not think it would look really proper, although we have a party line. It wouldn’t be better for Honorable Betty or my woman Member of Parliament who has been like a mother in this particular funeral issue to be at the forefront. But I do have their support. I have their teams who have been working closely with us but it was something which we thought about it, would be a bit crass if they are at the forefront of campaigning where you just had the tragic loss of somebody’s life.

“So, we managed it as best as we can. Of course, there are those who are going to spin it politically for different reasons but I thought it was the best way to manage it.

Jimmy Akena’s responses were recorded and transcribed when NBS TV hosted him Tuesday night.

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