Of marking UPC day and our  journey to court

Monday March 08 2021
By Joseph Ochieno

Of the days that mark and that UPC members should ideally celebrate are March 2, the date on which in 1952 Uganda National Congress (UNC), the precursor to UPC, was launched; March 9 the date on which in 1960 the UNC and the splinter group UPU re-united to form Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and of course, independence day October 9. With many others, I celebrate December 28, former president Milton Obote’s birthday.

So while we look forward to March 9 in two days’ time and whereas I am aware that various units of the party are due to have special events, it is unfortunate that once again, the day will be marked without a national president duly elected by members and, accepted by all members. 

But this should not spoil the party; the reunification of the party 61 years ago this week saw the emergence of a truly national, nationalist and mass political party for the first time in the history of this country and, with it was a critical moment in the quest for our independence and the crafting and founding of a new nation. It was – however short lived – though very successful.

After 35 years of NRA/M’s dictatorship with its reactionary, counter-revolutionary mission that has sought to reverse the nationalistic and Afrikanist gains of our national-democratic liberation principles, the values and ideals for which UPC was formed are today more urgently needed than ever before; dismantling the yoke of political and economic imperialism (local and foreign) and placing the same into the hands of the peoples of Uganda, national unity and peace in diversity that would translate into what Milton Obote referred to as victory against the enemies namely: ignorance, poverty and disease.

As if to rub-in, I received a call from an up-country journalist asking how I would be celebrating UPC day next week and, what the UPC leadership had in plan. 

While the young journalist was aware that Jimmy Akena is in charge of 6th floor Uganda House, but is officially rejected in law, she was equally scathing that Peter Walubiri was allegedly in charge of a section of the party but almost as if mafia, unknown to most members and certainly, un-elected. I claim no formal leadership.


This is an extremely new territory for me; discussing internal UPC matters in public let alone acknowledging that in some cases we too have rots. The imperative is this: I participated in UPC leadership elections following a court ruling last year that the party should return to its members for the election of a new president. 

I traversed this country and sold my programme. I met members and most were convinced. Despite the inefficiency and apparent attempt to fudge the process in favour of one candidate, on my own figures and with much evidence, I won.

 But never did I ever expect that a process conducted by two lawyers and overseen by an appointee technocrat – also a lawyer, would seek to fudge a process that had been instructed by the Court of Appeal just months earlier and of all people, seek to do so against my interest. They are damn wrong.

I have, over two months, begged them for basic information that  should have been availed to me as a matter of course as a candidate while others tallied either in my presence or the presence of my agents or representatives. They did not. With a heavy heart, I am headed to court with them but not for me. My journey is destined to reclaimed the initiative on behalf of members of this party who have been treated almost mafia-style with much contempt and despise. 

This journey must be one that will return this party back to the national table where the battle against ignorance, poverty and disease are crafted and fought and trust me, UPC members are right in – as lead victims - today.

The writer is a former UPC spokesperson