The Uganda People’s Congress—UPC leadership must engage its members when making decisions, Lira Municipality MP Jimmy Akena has said.
Akena, a son of the UPC founding leader Apollo Milton Obote, notes that the party leadership has been taking some decisions at policy level and not with party members.
He says all proposals of party activities have to be approved by the National Council and the Delegates Conference which is the final decision making body of the party.
According to Article 12.3 of the UPC party constitution, the National Council is supposed to meet at least once every year. However, ever since Olara Otunnu was elected UPC president three years ago, the National Council has not sat.
Party members from different parts of the country have put the party leadership to task to call the National Council and discuss party activities and ongoing wrangles ahead of 2016. These wrangles according to Sospater Akwenyu, a former UPC presidential candidate, are threatening to annihilate the party by wiping out its foundation. Akwenyu says the entire party leadership has failed to give them a sense of direction.
But Okello Lucima, the party spokesperson, says there is no reason to call the National Council since they have no agenda. Lucima argues that 2016 is a date for national elections which must have substantive value, be free and fair or else it will be a repeat of previous rigged elections.
The Lira Municipality MP on the other hand says the party can claim not to have an agenda only if it has been fully redundant on all fronts and it also does not eliminate the fact that the National Council must sit annually as stipulated in the constitution.
Akena adds that a political party that is active cannot ignore an election but use it as an opportunity to renew, re-organise and connect with the electorate.
The UPC constitution states duties of the National Council among others as to ensure the implementation of the policies, decisions and programmes of the Party as laid down by the Delegates Conference and to receive reports from the Party Cabinet.
According to Lucima the party is not where it should be because of its financial constraints due to the bankrupt state of the Milton Obote Foundation, which has been starved of businesses by the ruling government.
One of the mandates of the National Council is to consider and approve the budget of the Party submitted to it by the Party Cabinet. It is also expected to raise and control the finances of the Party and consider reports and audited accounts submitted by the Party Cabinet.
This according to Akena means that if the party is going through a financial crisis, then the leadership has to call the National Council to review its budget for it to forge a way forward to resolve the crisis.
He urges UPC party members to understand their mission of improving the welfare of Ugandans despite the fact that they are not in government. This is to focus on key areas such as health, education and fighting poverty.