Buganda calls for Bobi-Mpuuga talks

Some of the National Unity PLatfrom (NUP) leaders together with Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom Charles Peter Mayiga (L) on March 27, 2024. Photo | Shabibah Nakirigya

What you need to know:

  • The Buganda Kingdom emphasises the necessity of dialogue, mutual respect, and adherence to human rights principles among political players to resolve disputes peacefully.

A clearer picture of how the standoff inside the National Unity Platform (NUP) could end emerged yesterday as the party said it would not expel their deputy president representing the Buganda regional-political area.
Party officials appeared to step back from what looked like an inevitable parting of ways, seemingly deferring to advice handed down by the influential Buganda Kingdom cultural institution. 

After weeks of fence-sitting, the kingdom’s fingerprints could be seen in this twist to what has been a deadlocked battle of wills. The Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, waded into the heated standoff, calling for talks between the opposed sides. 
On one side of the raging dispute are members agreeing with by party leader, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, alias Bobi Wine, while Mr Mathias Mpuuga, until last December Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LoP), remains defiant in the face of accusations he has broken NUP principles against corruption. 

Speaking to a delegation of party leaders led by Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the LoP, the Katikkiro said good leadership should be characterised by mutual respect.
“We urge political players to be very keen on observance of human rights starting with yourselves. You need to be patient, respect and talk to one another,” he said at the kingdom seat in Bulange, Mengo on Wednesday,
“I think is better for good leadership to sit down and talk to one another with patience and listen to wise counsel because you have to keep on serving the public when you are together,” Mr Mayiga counselled.

There were signs the kingdom is treading a fine line on an issue which has been as politically-divisive as it is sensitive given it could have far-reaching implications for the cultural institution’s subjects in parts of the kingdom and other extra-political interests.
Katikkiro Mayiga appeared at great pains to make clear Bulange is home to every one irrespective of their ideological orientation politically, religion or ethnic origin. 

Both Mr Kyagulanyi, and Mr Mpuuga profess an unshakeable allegiance and attachment to Buganda Kingdom, the largest and most populous in the country. 
Shortly after the morning meeting, Mr Alex Waiswa Mufumbiro, the NUP’s deputy spokesperson, said even with concerns about “indiscipline” and corruption, the party believes Mr Mpuuga can still be redeemed. 
“We follow the process of the law. We have not yet given up on these people. We believe they are ‘rehabitable’ [sic]. We don’t want to hand them over to the dictator. We are working day and night to have them regain their senses. All we ask is that he apologises to the nation,” Mr Mufumbiro said.

Meanwhile, sources said last evening in a Tuesday meeting at the party headquarters in Makerere-Kavule which discussed Speaker Among’s March 25 letter rejecting the Mpuuga withdrawal was inconclusive.
Word is that opinion was divided, with some remarking that the absence of Mr Kyagulanyi – said to be abroad – may have contributed to the indecision.

In a show of open defiance, apparently timed to coincide with the Speaker’s response to a March 18 letter formally requesting Mr Mpuuga be replaced with Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, the former LoP vowed he is staying put.
“…NUP is my party and I harbour no intentions whatsoever of leaving; I am going nowhere. Rather, I’ll in the coming days embark on a process of instituting internal party reforms to make it a credible and competent government in waiting,” he said. 

Mr Mufumbiro said they were not surprised by Ms Among’s position, saying she is misinterpreting the law to serve certain interests. 

“We wanted the country to know that we are not working with Mpuuga as commissioner, because we know the dubiousness going on in the commission. He has also shown he is indisciplined and he has clearly shown that he is working with [President] Museven,” Mr Mufumbiro said yesterday, indicating further indications will be held. 

Responding to Mr Mpuuga’s view on Tuesday that NUP’s leadership is “clueless” and “self-seeking”, the spokesman said the deputy president lacks the moral authority to question anyone. 
Mr Ssenyongi told journalists at Bulange that the party stands by its principles. 

“As a party there are different ways we handle issues. We do talk, engage and other times there are sanctions. The way we react to some of our leaders or members does not mean that we do not love them but we have to stick to our core values,” he said. 
“When you’re being disciplined, it’s important because the Bible says that pride comes before a fall, because we need to be humble as leaders and follow what’s right,” he said  


Weeks ago, NUP’s National Executive Committee resolved to recall Mr Mathias Mpuuga from the position of Parliamentary Commissioner over a contentious Shs500 million ‘service award’ he accepted during his tenure as Leader of the Opposition. That decision met with rejection on Tuesday with Speaker Anita Among making clear NUP “lacks requisite legal mandate to recall a commissioner of Parliament once elected”.  

The party had also asked the Nyendo-Mukungwe MP to return the money and apologise to the country, directives he has defied. 
Article 16 of the party’s constitution lists “disobedience or negligence to carry out lawful directives of the party or any organ or officer of the party,” as offences that can attract reprimand, censure, debarment from holding any office, remove from office, suspension from the party or expulsion.