NUP ‘Rebel MPs’ Rule out Forming New Political Party

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National Unity Platform (NUP) ‘rebels’ have ruled out forming a new party over disagreements with the party’s top leadership.  

The main opposition party is currently embroiled in a sharp controversy that is threatening its support base, following a demand by the top leadership to Nyendo-Mukungwe MP Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba to resign as parliamentary commissioner over a contentious “service award” of Shs 500 million allocated to him just six months into his term of office as the Leader of Opposition (LoP).

NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu also suspended Mpuuga from the position of party deputy president for Buganda region, accusing him of casting the party into public disrepute and corruption accusations. Mpuuga however since described the accusations as ridiculous.

Amid the growing internal strife, a section of the leaders including MPs have since rebelled against their party’s top leadership and allied with Mpuuga, for whom they are organizing thanksgiving prayers in Masaka city this Friday.

Joseph Kasirye, NUP registrar for the greater Masaka region, while addressing the pre-event organizing meeting in Sembabule district disputed claims of a breakaway from the party, saying their efforts are intended to restore sanity, which is required to make them a better alternative to the incumbent NRM.

Kasirye said NUP is currently tattered with a high level of intolerance and egocentric tendencies by a clique of leaders. He said the top leadership of the party is preoccupied with what he described as promoting intrigue against others.

He said their group has not yet considered quitting the NUP to join or form a new political formation, saying they are reaching out to mobilize the members to join efforts to realign the affairs of the party for the better.

Juliet Nakabuye Kakande, Masaka City Woman MP cautions opposition supporters against the excitement of forming or switching to political parties, arguing that they all face similar frustrations that retards the pursuit of political change in the country.

According to her, it does not make sense to quit NUP at the moment, arguing that their energies can only pay off if they focus on reorganizing the party and aligning its leadership, to serve the general good. 

Nyendo-Ssenyange division chairperson Michael Mulindwa Nakumusana says they have set out to address the problems that have been causing division within the opposition parties.

He explained that their mobilization crusades are intended to reenergize their grassroots supporters, such that they can stand out to task their leaders against divisive politics.

NUP spokesperson also LoP Joel Ssenyonyi however said the top organ of the party already pronounced its decision on the fate of Mpuuga, indicating that they are not about to relent over any form of pressure.

According to him, the group mobilizing the members outside the known structures of the party and programs are self-seekers, who they cannot pay attention to.

Notably, internal contradictions are not novel to opposition political parties in Uganda. In the buildup and post-2016 general election period, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), which was the main opposition party at the time was faced with a similar dilemma.

The leadership failed to agree on the best approach to challenging President Museveni because they were torn apart by two divergent factions, with one believing in building and strengthening party strictures from the grassroots as the other believed in defiance and confrontation methods of work, contradictions that led to a split and eventually the creation of a new political party; the Alliance for National Transition (ANT).    

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