What you need to know:
- Mr Akena, who is the MP of Lira Municipality, made the remarks during his campaign rally at VH Public Primary School on Monday. He is now contesting to represent the newly created Lira City East Division in Parliament.
The Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party president, Mr Jimmy Akena, has broken silence about his alliance with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
Mr Akena admitted that he is working closely with President Museveni and the NRM party because he wants to take over the country’s presidency in 2026.
However, in 2010, Mr Akena said he would become President in 2021. Mr Akena is the son of UPC founding president Apollo Milton Obote.
“I am working hard to become the [next] president of Uganda and I am preparing step by step as I prepare to move ahead in future. I don’t need to abuse anybody to reach the highest office. I will continue to move ahead in constructive engagements with all political players,” he said.
Mr Akena, who is the MP of Lira Municipality, made the remarks during his campaign rally at VH Public Primary School on Monday. He is now contesting to represent the newly created Lira City East Division in Parliament.
He said there is nothing that can stop him from working with Mr Museveni because he wants to lobby for development for his people.
“If I want development, what would stop me from going anywhere for that development? Is it a crime to go to the President for development? So, why are they quarrelling (NRM supporters)? I know some of them even if they want to see their President, it can take them a year before seeing him,” Mr Akena charged.
NRM supporters cry foul
He was referring to some NRM cadres in Lango Sub-region who on Saturday accused the NRM party chairperson, Mr Museveni, of sidelining them in favour of Mr Akena.
The NRM cadres further accused the President of giving huge sums of money to UPC to fight them. The NRM cadres revealed this during a heated meeting convened by the national NRM vice chairperson for northern Uganda, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, on Saturday. The meeting attended by NRM parliamentary and LC5 flag-bearers was held at Uganda Technical College (UTC), Lira.
But Mr Oulanyah said as members of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), they have never met and approved any cash donation to UPC.
Mr Akena, however, did not mention anything related to receiving any cash donation from Mr Museveni to facilitate his campaigns and that of UPC party flag-bearers.
“I have nurtured my political career that when I want to meet the President or Speaker of Parliament, I can say I will meet them when I want to, because my issue is development and my politics is not about attacking people,” he said.
‘No chance in 2021’
Mr Akena also revealed that he knew that even if he contested for president in 2021, he would not win. But he said he is now focusing on 2026 when President Museveni will hand over power to him since he is capable of consolidating the current leader’s achievements.
“I don’t want to be begging for developments, but I want to be in a position to direct the development so that our talks of quality education and healthcare can be achieved,” he added.
Mr Akena said working with Mr Museveni does not mean he has converted to NRM, but he is still in UPC and will forever remain in his father’s political party.
“Yesterday, I was UPC and today am still UPC and tomorrow when I go to the government I will still be a UPC because UPC for me is more than even a party. It is a way of life – it is something which is of greater importance. So before we get into the government, we must get out of some of the challenges which we faced.”
In the last election, UPC did not field a presidential flag bearer. The party rallied behind former Premier Amama Mbabazi under the Democratic Alliance. For his lack of ambition in the presidential race, Mr Akena has come under criticism from a section of party members.
By Bill Oketch, Patrick Ebong & Charity Akullo