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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Akena denies selling UPC to Museveni as he gets another five years as party president

Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) president Jimmy Akena has dismissed claims that he sold one of the country’s oldest political parties to President Yoweri Museveni of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

According to Akena, UPC is unique to other parties his leadership has found some middle ground with the NRM on some issues.

“The issue is there has been some narrowing of differences overtime but as far as politics is concerned, UPC has a distinct party platform which is separate from any other political entity,” said Akena.

Jimmy Akena waves at delegates at Kasangati Resort Hotel
Jimmy Akena waves at delegates at Kasangati Resort Hotel. Photo by Isaac Masaba

The claims on the NRM-UPC marriage stem from the working relationship Akena has with the ruling party and its national chairman Museveni.

In 2016, Akena backed Museveni in the presidential election. As if returning the favour, Museveni appointed Akena’s wife Betty Amongi minister.

AKENA REELECTED UPC PRESIDENT

Despite an order barring the delegates conference and directing Akena to refrain from using the party account until court has disposed of an application a rival faction filed, UPC delegates met and handed Akena five more years.

There was tight security at the Kasangati Resort Hotel in Wakiso District where the delegates conference happened.

At the conference, UPC Electoral Commission chairman Mahmoud Kazimbiraine told delegates Akena was unopposed.

Jimmy Akena raises UPC flag
Jimmy Akena raises UPC flag. Photo by Isaac Masaba

“We called on people to express interest in the [position of] party president but only four of them picked forms. Out of these, only Mr Akena returned the forms but it was not enough for us to confirm him,” Kazimbiraine said.

Read: Akena unopposed for UPC president after Shs20m nomination fee ‘knocked out’ opponents

Kazimbiraine, who Akena later replaced with Ben Bakabulinde, further announced that 104 districts and five cities had seconded the Lira Municipality MP for party presidecny.

Akena, son to two-time president and UPC founder Apollo Milton Obote, will now steer the party for the next five years.

One of his key challenges will be uniting the party, and rallying factions, particularly the one led by lawyer Peter Walubiri, behind him.

At Kasangati, Akena sent a clear message to Walubiri and his group.

“I will never allow the will of UPC members to be undermined by whoever you think you are,” vowed Akena.

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