A faction of Ugandans in North America under their umbrella body, UNAA will head to to polls in August during their annual convention in Chicago USA.
The heavily competitive and highly politicised presidential polls have attracted competition from; Henrietta Wamala, a former UNAA executive Secretary, Julius Muwulya, a former UNAA Vice President, and self proclaimed UNAA President Daniel Busuulwa Kawuma.
Kawuma was part of the presidential elections that were won by UNAA incumbent Monday Atigo in Miami in 2017, however, Kawuma appealed to the Board of Trustees (BOT) who quashed Atigo’s presidency ordering for a re-run.
A stand off ensued between the BOT on one side with Kawuma, UNAA Electoral Commission (UNAA EC) and the UNAA Council with Atigo on the other. In the end a controversial reelection was held online in February last year which Atigo and camp shunned, leaving Kawuma the indefatigable president yet invalid.
Kawuma and camp seized the Association website, twitter handle and locked out Atigo and his team. A swearing-in ceremony was hence prepared for Kawuma and he swore himself in as newly elected UNAA president, while the website splashed his profile and deleted that of Atigo.
In response, Atigo’s team registered a new domain name, wrestled the twitter handle back from Kawuma and team, locked him out and he chaired their annual convention in Seattle later that year.
Kawuma out of options dashed to the superior court of Massachusetts, USA to seek a preliminary injunction on Atigo and his UNAA led executive.
Kawuma contended that he is the legally elected President of UNAA following victory in February online polls and therefore requested court to set aside Atigo and group as well as compel them to hand over instruments of power including; bank accounts and communication platforms.
However, court presided over by Hon Judge Edward P. Leibensperger ruled that Kawuma had no mandate to sue Atigo as he is constitutionally elected in a preliminary ruling last year, this outstanding court case is coming back to haunt Dr. Kawuma .
Kawuma returns in Presidential race but can’t stay
Following Atigo’s winding up of term of office, Kawuma returned to the race but he faces an uphill test as he is already being blocked.
On April 10th, the BOT chairman, John Agaba instructed Julius Kabugu, the director of communications to cancel Kawuma’s registration for the upcoming Chicago convention. This automatically disqualifies Kawuma as a presidential aspirant in the race.
Kawuma confirmed receiving notice of his registration’s cancellation by email. In a more detailed video update later, Kawuma claimed he was being witch hunted by former president’s; Moses Wilson and David Mureeba using Agaba and other members of the the Board of Trustees to interfere with the work of the Electoral Commission.
“UNAA deserves a free and fair election not backdoor tactics by individuals with self interest. The Diaspora deserves better,” Kawuma claimed, adding that he is going forward with his candidature.
UNAA BOT invoking constitution
However, the BOT through invoking the constitution claims that Kawuma is not legally accepted into the race, since there is already a court case in which he claims he is the current President of the association.
According to sources on the BOT, it is legally allowed for it to recommend to the UNAA Council the suspension or termination of membership of any Member who, in the judgment of the Rules and Disciplinary Committee, has violated the Bylaws or whose conduct is deemed detrimental to the best interests of the Association and such according to the sources is Kawuma.
The sources also quote the UNAA Constitution 6.11: To be eligible for election to the Executive Committee, a person shall be a member of UNAA in good standing; shall be a resident of North America; shall fulfill all requirements that shall be determined by the Electoral Commission; and shall not have engaged in activities at any time that have undermined or had the potential to undermine the interests of the Association.
“Kawuma swore himself in illegally, he then dragged the Association to court bringing turmoil and unnecessary drama to UNAA. At the same time, his team seized the UNAA authority tools hence undermined the Association’s interests. This automatically disqualifies him,” a member of UNAA BOT told Nile Post.
What you may need to know:
UNAA is the oldest diaspora organisation by Ugandans, it currently attracts an annual financial contribution from President Museveni to the tune of $100000 (shs370m).
UNAA is a registered nonprofit organisation run on a constitution.