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Party dependence on membership shall guarantee their existence

(Last Updated On: 2 August 2023)

By Ishaa Otto Amiza 

Oyam I The charisma of UPC party members in Oyam County North in the recently concluded by-elections was irresistibly unbeatable.

The result of the by-elections, therefore presented the best opportunity for the UPC party to reclaim its position in the politics of Lango and Uganda. It’s important to note that, since 2015, UPC has been sending mixed information to the voters and hence losing its territory in Lango to the NRA/M because it failed to define its mission and vision clearly to the voters of Lango.

The voters got confused about whether UPC-Akena was an annexe of Museveni’s NRA/M or whether it was still a party founded by Obote. This confusion allowed UPC to lose its might and glory in the face of the people of Lango and Uganda.

Therefore, the by-election in Oyam North brought in a new outlook, when UPC members confronted the NRA/M candidate, openly without any compromise and UPC was able to reclaim its lost Constituency.

It was a demonstration that UPC can recapture its stronghold. UPC members should therefore use the win in the by-election in Oyam North to demonstrate to the people of Uganda that they are an independent party that is NOT dependent on NRM and Mr Museveni.

It’s therefore critical that political parties should depend on their members, not the claimed leaders and stolen monies. The determination and zeal exhibited by UPC membership in Oyam North should be replicated elsewhere to exonerate UPC from being seen as a mere annexe or emissary of the NRM regime.

UPC members should not surrender their fate and identity to individuals who may be interested in pursuing their selfish personal interests for power and wealth but focus on building and strengthening their party for accessing and attaining government control.

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The 1995 Constitution in Article 1, clearly gives power to the people and hence party members should own up their parties and not sell out their rights and powers by surrendering their authority to selfish and opportunistic individuals.

This should be the position across all political parties and formations. Political parties in Uganda are too weak to sustain themselves because the members have surrendered their rights and authority to individuals and families, where UPC is viewed as Obote’s family, NRM for Museveni’s family, FDC for Kiiza Besigye and hence these political parties cannot thrive beyond these individuals and families.

Therefore, the strength of a political party is in the resolve of its members.

Notably, in developed democracies, political parties/institutions live beyond their founding fathers because parties are owned by their members.

For example, in South Africa, Nelson Mandela left the ANC party to its members and distanced his family influence from it. The same in Tanzania, Chama-Chaama Mapenduzi (CCM) party remains strong because Julius Nyerere distanced his family from it and surrendered CCM to its membership.

In the UK, the Labour Party and Conservatives depend on their members and no individual or family can control their existence.

As a member of UPC, I will use my pressure group (Renaissance Uganda) to mentor young leaders into civil political activism and build civic confidence and capacity in the members of existing political parties like  UPC, NUP and FDC to own up their parties.

Parties that are built on ideology and clear policy agenda survive as opposed to parties that are built around the charisma of individuals, families and money.

It’s now evidently clear that NRM will not survive beyond Museveni and the family because the party is built around Museveni and his family alone and funded using State resources and power.

Otto is a member of the UPC party/ President of Renaissance Uganda

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