The National Unity Platform-NUP has warned its MPs against participating in anyway in the election of members of the East African Legislative Assembly-EALA scheduled for Thursday.
Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting of all opposition political parties represented in parliament, Manjeri Kyebakutikka, the deputy opposition chief whip said the leadership of the party resolved that they will not front a candidate for the election, therefore, its members do not canvass for or support any candidate neither appear at parliament on Thursday.
Kyebakutikka also revealed that the party is going to challenge in court the elections because they don’t conform to the East African Community protocols.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition said that it was important for the parties to sit and agree on the way forward in regards to the EALA elections. He said it was unacceptable that the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM after choosing its six candidates, also wants to determine the three candidates who will represent the opposition. Mpuuga said that because each party is independent of the other, they had to first consult with their leaders before the entire opposition would announce a position on the election.
Despite efforts to come up with a united position, parties failed to agree on boycotting the election. Other than NUP and PPP, the other opposition political parties; FDC, JEEMA, UPC, and DP are presenting candidates.
Peter Okot, the Whip of the Democratic Party said there was no way they are going to boycott the election because they had already nominated a candidate, Gerald Siranda, the DP Secretary General who was nominated as the party candidate.
“The caucus is not a decision-making organ of DP, therefore, the position which the party took in arriving at a candidate to be presented to EALA was taken by the National Executive Committee. We didn’t sit as a caucus because the members were out of Kampala, but even if we had sat as a caucus, we can’t reverse the decision that had been taken. Our candidate is remaining in the race until the end of the exercise,” Okot said.
DP’s views were similar to those of UPC which through its whip Santa Alum Ogwanga, the Woman MP of Oyam said that the party leadership had already taken a stand that can’t be reversed. “The Cabinet of UPC sat and endorsed the decision of participating in the election, the candidate was duly nominated and has been moving throughout the country consulting MPs. So as UPC, we have decided to continue up to the very end. I request my colleagues here that we have a candidate in the name of Ebil Otto. I ask for your support for the UPC candidate, “Alum said.
Pipi Ojara, who represented the FDC in the meeting said his party is also not going to pull out its candidate in the race. FDC nominated Harold Kaija, the party deputy secretary general as their candidate for EALA.
“As FDC, we went through the process of selecting who was going to represent us in EALA and one person emerged. But personally, I would have liked to have a united position so that we all stay in one umbrella and don’t participate. But unfortunately, FDC is participating but I’m not going to participate,” Ojara said.
For Santa Okot, the only MP on the People’s Progressive Party ticket representing the Alur North constituency, their party candidate Jeremiah Birungi pulled out of the race after realizing that NRM had effectively closed out other parties when it agreed to support six of its candidates and other candidates from other parties. NRM has got an overwhelming majority in parliament therefore, no candidate can go through without its support.