UPC: Opposition Must Not "Escort" Gen. Museveni To Election Fraud

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Olara Otunnu

[Op-Ed: Uganda Elections 2016]




In its sitting on 4 September 2015, the Party Cabinet reviewed the policy of UPC concerning the 2016 general elections. The Party Cabinet reaffirmed the policy of UPC as follows.

UPC is committed to the togetherness project of the Opposition. We believe that our togetherness is an imperative in the current struggle to effect regime change and achieve national democratic liberation of our country. This policy was set forth in clear terms by the National Council of UPC in April 2011. This policy and this conviction are the reasons why the leadership of UPC has invested so heavily and played such a pivotal role in building and shaping the content and direction of the togetherness project of the Opposition, from the inception of this project in March 2011 to the present moment.

We are deeply committed to prosecuting the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections to its logical conclusion. This is our most important common project. This must be the top priority of The Democratic Alliance (TDA).

We are committed to working together in TDA. TDA has not yet adopted a common position on 2016 general elections. It is critical and urgent that a collective position is forged within TDA. This should follow a serious, honest and deliberate review of this matter.

Under the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, we have put forward specific proposals for a new system for organizing and managing future elections in our country - - a system that is designed to deliver free and fair elections. Alas, the Museveni/NRM regime has torpedoed these proposals. Without the proposed new system being in place, it is manifestly obvious that the 2016 elections, like previous elections organized by the Museveni/NRM regime, will be a complete sham. Our position is that, this time, the people of Uganda, led by TDA, must take a firm stand and bring this issue to a head. We must resolve not to escort Mr. Museveni once again in this grand fraud and deception.  UPC therefore calls on TDA to adopt a common policy of non-cooperation, non-participation, and delegitimization, concerning 2016 elections. We must continue with the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, in order to deligitimize the sham elections, and to resolutely press forward until our demands have been met.

This is not the first time the Opposition finds itself at this crossroads. We have been here before. In this connection, we call on TDA to draw and apply critical lessons from the tragic missteps of 2010. Then, the Opposition, under the Inter-Party Cooperation, had adopted a clear position and made firm demands concerning 2011 elections, only to make a most unfortunate last-minute U-turn. This episode has been particularly damaging to the Opposition and very costly to the people of Uganda.

At this phase of our common struggle, UPC places particular premium on three elements. First, the Party POLICY and orientation concerning our struggle for regime change and national democratic liberation. Second, the UNITY of the Opposition and other democracy - seeking and patriotic forces in this struggle. And, third, the RESOLVE of the Opposition - - in remaining firm, unafraid and unequivocal - - in prosecuting this struggle.

We bring to the TDA table a clear-cut and unequivocal policy view and proposal on the 2016 elections. We shall actively engage in forging together a unified and principled TDA policy. An agreed common position should be clear and unambiguous; on this crucial issue, we should avoid conveying mixed messages and signals.

Once a collective policy has been formulated and adopted, it behooves all TDA members to abide by that agreed common position. 

6 September, 2015

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