Mpuuga victim of growing party intrigue- NUP leaders in Masaka 

A section of NUP leaders in Masaka during a press conference in Masaka on March 1,2024  PHOTO /ANTONIO KALYANGO.

What you need to know:

  • The internal bickering within the country’s youngest and biggest opposition party intensified when the NUP leadership in Masaka City stopped the Kunga Uganda [mobilisation] campaign in the area at a meeting chaired by Mr Mpuuga in January. 

A section of National Unity Platform (NUP) leadership in Masaka City has defended the embattled Nyendo-Mukungwe legislator and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Mathias Mpuuga on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.
In the statement on Thursday the NUP national leadership asked Mr Mpuuga who is currently a parliamentary commissioner to resign “with immediate effect” after the latter admitted that he had benefited from a questionable Shs500 million ‘service award’ from Parliament.

During an impromptu press conference in Masaka City   on Friday, NUP leaders led by party elders in the area, said Mpuuga is a victim of growing intrigue within the party and the said Shs500 million was rightfully extended to him as a former Leader of the Opposition with an official record of the Parliamentary Commission.

Mathias Mpuuga

According to Mr Charles Mary Bbanga, a councillor representing the elderly at Masaka City Council, the Parliamentary Commission on May 6, 2022 reviewed and revised the rewards of different officers attached to Parliament upon expiry of their terms.
 “Every Member of Parliament gets honorary gratuity, how come that it’s an abuse of office when a former Leader of Opposition bags his reward?b We challenge the party leadership to summon all party Members of Parliament to resign since they also get gratuity in the same manner like Hon. [Robert] Kyagulanyi got Shs 320 million as gratuity at the expiry of his term as a law maker,”he said.

Mr Kyagulanyi served as Kyadondo East legislator between 2017 and 2021.
They also challenged the NUP Spokesperson who doubles as Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi to explain how financial allocations by the parliamentary commission turned out to be corruption, yet even the funds that facilitate his office as LoP are allocated by the same body.

“In our view, this is an official and intended move by the top NUP leadership to character assassinate Mpuuga with funding from sources we’re yet to disclose,” he added.
 He further asked Mr  Ssenyonyi to withdraw the statement he made with immediate effect on top of apologising to the people of Masaka and Party president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu to separate his family interests from those of the  party.

“We also ask the Principal [Kyagulanyi] to separate the family issues with party administration and its mission of taking over power and endeavour to grow the quality of leadership within the party,” he said
Mr Chris Obore, the director communication and public affairs at Parliament explained that the Commissioners’ service award where Mpuuga is a beneficiary, is a one-off payment at the end of a Commissioner’s term.
“This was not a payment to Hon Mpuuga as it is being framed but to all Commissioners. Take note that it was not a bribe because the decisions of the Parliamentary Commission have legal force that is why they are recorded. I doubt whether bribes are recorded,” he said.

NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi 

Mr Gerald Kizito, another party elder, expressed fear about the future of NUP if the struggle to liberate Uganda from NRM’s nearly four-decade rule   can be reduced to fighting individuals within the party.
“Our agenda as a party is to liberate Uganda, that’s why we’re supportive to people like Mpuuga because of his value to this struggle, but it hurts seeing our leaders now turning against him, these are turbulent waves we have been sailing through and we know how to handle,” he stated.

The area legislators –all subscribing to NUP did not attend the Friday morning press conference. Even the city mayor Florence Namayanja who serves as NUP chairperson in Masaka City was conspicuously absent.

The internal bickering in the country’s youngest and biggest opposition party intensified when the NUP leadership in Masaka City stopped the Kunga Uganda [mobilisation] campaign in the area at a meeting chaired by Mr Mpuuga in January. 

This sparked mixed reaction as the latter was accused by other area party leaders led by Ms Namayanja of trying to frustrate    activities aimed at drumming up support for the party ahead of 2026 general elections. 

NUP mobilisation chief, Fred Nyanzi

The mobilisation campaign is led by Mr Kyagulanyi’s elder brother, Fred Nyanzi, the party’s mobilisation chief.

NUP, which is less than five years old, has considerable political support in Masaka where Mr Mpuuga is a political kingpin and the area is considered as the party’s stronghold.  
Currently, the majority of leaders  at various levels including local councils and parliament subscribe to NUP.