The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) is encouraging opposition political leaders to embark on a robust campaign of free and fair elections ahead of the 2016 general elections.
Olara Otunnu, the UPC President, says this can be done by bringing together opposition political parties, civil societies and those interested in promoting democracy in Uganda.
According to the former United Nations (UN) Ambassador this translates into a basket of demands as they did in 2010 highlighting the key issues on which the integrity of the elections lie and make proposals on them.
These include reforming the Electoral Commission (EC), involvement of security forces, financing of the elections and deployment of monies, the voter registry and how to secure the journey from the counting of votes at the polling station to the correlation of regional levels and announcing at the national level.
But more effort should be put on how to handle dispute in the aftermath of the polls particularly in regard to the Presidential Poll.
Otunnu insists the above issues should be the circle of deliberations in a national open forum with a view to garnering national consensus and a new electoral process. Considering this will involve all political parties including the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), Otunnu says they need to generate and pile pressure on President Museveni.
The UPC President believes the challenges Uganda is facing can only be resolved if the regime is changed. When asked what the party is doing internally in order to prepare for the 2016 elections such as party restructuring, mobilization of masses and finance among others, Otunnu confidently states that what matters is not about who is going to be the candidate.
What should be asked is the mannerism under which the elections would be held adding that the UPC exists not to serve itself but to serve the people of Uganda and that can be achieved through changing the regime.
He also revealed that he will soon be going on a nationwide tour but their focus now is to work with other parties to bring regime change despite the abnormal conditions under which political parties are working under.
However, Lira Municipality MP James Akena, also a UPC member, disagrees with his party President saying there is still a lot of work to do to organize their structure ahead of 2016. The pertinent question according to Akena is that if a free and fair election is held tomorrow, how will the UPC perform?
Yesterday the Democratic Party President Norbert Mao stated that it is possible to change the Presidency as long as a political party organizes itself. He argued that it is never useless to participate in the elections just because they claim the conditions are not favourable for a free and fair election.
He cautioned opposition political parties not to expect President Museveni to lay for them a red carpet to State House since the challenged political parties are facing in Uganda are not strong enough to not participate in the elections.