Dr. Olara Otunnu

Dr. Olara Otunnu

He said that he was surprised to hear that a ?consultative meeting? was suddenly converted, a kangaroo fashion, into a so called ?Delegates Conference?, for the sole purpose of crowing Akena ?party president?.

Otunnu said this while addressing journalists at a press conference at Speke Hotel in Kampala.

His reaction comes a week after, when a section of UPC members endorsed the Lira Municipality MP as party president, during a consultative meeting which was also organized by Akena at the exhibition hall at the Uganda Manufactures? Association last Wednesday.

?The meeting was convened and conducted entirely under false pretences. This marks an unprecedented watershed of illegality, impunity and hubris. This act was also meant to divert attention from the very important work of the Independent Commission of Inquiry,? Otunnu said.

Following what transpired in the district nominations, Otunnu instituted a commission of inquiry headed by Prof Patrick Rubaihayo to investigate what happened. Other members of the commission include; Dr. James Rwanyarare, Lawyer Peter Walubiri, Professors Charles Kagenda and Willy Anokbonggo.

He said under the party constitution, Akena has no authority or mandate whatsoever to convene or conduct such a consultative meeting of members of the DC.

?Under article 13.3 of our constitution, only the party president can convene the DC; nobody else is mandated. I have never called any DC,? he added.

Adding that, the convening of the DC by the party president requires formal notice of thirty days, agenda, date, place and time of meeting, stressing that no DC is convened under ambush or sabotage like what Akena did.

Otunnu explained that under UPC constitution, no ?consultative meeting?, convened under whatever auspices or pretexts can simply by casual declaration, be transformed into a DC.

He said in UPC, there is no position, role or tradition of ?President Elect? as Akena has purportedly been calling himself. He further clarified that what happened on May 30, 2015, was not an election exercise as Akena and his supporters purport, but a nomination exercise of various aspirants.

?Our constitution stipulates that any candidate to be elected must have one and a third of the district support before being elected by the DC. But even the EC has never announced results from the nominations exercise,? Otunnu said.

He alleged that Akena with the help of some armed men ambushed the party headquarters and forced some of few members of the party EC to announce him, before all results were tallied.

Otunnu explained that under the UPC constitution, only a legally convened and properly constituted DC has the mandate to elect the party president, from a list of duly nominated candidates. ?No other gathering, however contrived, can usurp this role and mandate,? he added.

He stressed that all actions undertaken by Akena under the guise of ?president elect?, and all actions taken at the ?consultative meeting? on July 1, 2015, are null and void.

?With the full complicity of state authorities, these illegal and cynical actions by Akena are attempts to take over UPC by force and impunity. I want to assure our members that these illegitimate and unconstitutional acts will not stand,?

Otunnu said he intends to convene a legal and properly constituted DC, after the commission of the inquiry has completed it work.

?We are working systematically based on facts, in line with the UPC constitution and in the interest of the party. There is no lack of basis to take Akena to the disciplinary committee but we resolved to avoid emotions and wait for the commission to complete its report which will be presented to the DC,? he added.

When contacted, Akena said they were fed up of the personalization of the party organs by Otunnu and his executive.

?For five years, we have not held one National Council meeting and at least two delegates? conferences as required. It is hypocritical for the likes of Otunnu and his executive for having failed to constitute the organs of the party,? he said.

Akena said he called the delegates? because they have the mandate to change the leadership of the party.

He also vowed not to appear before the commission of inquiry, saying it was an alien commission where he (Otunnu) is the appointing authority, the convener and chief complainant on party matters.

By Jeff Andrew Lule, The New Vision

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