Kibalama casts NUP into crossroads

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Kibalama casts NUP into crossroads
NUP principal Robert Kyagulanyi and Moses Kibalama are at the crossroads again

On Tuesday, a meeting was convened by the Electoral Commission to address the constitutional amendment dispute within the National Unity Platform (NUP) party.

However, it ended in a stalemate as the party became embroiled in a legal battle over the newly proposed constitution that was submitted to the Electoral Commission (EC) for approval.

The Electoral Commission announced that it is unable to gazette the new NUP constitution due to an ongoing legal challenge in the High Court.

The constitution can only be gazetted once the legal conflict has been resolved.

David Ekarlet, Saphy Waiga, and Del Omony, represented by their lawyers from Baraka Legal Associates, wrote to the EC and filed a case in the High Court contesting the amendment of the NUP constitution.

They argue that the amendment process is illegal, abusive, and violates the procedure outlined in Article 24 of the NUP constitution.

In 2023, the NUP implemented significant changes to its constitution, which included a provision limiting the terms of its leaders at the national and local levels to two terms.

This amendment was adopted during an extraordinary meeting to review proposals put forth by the constitutional review committee.

According to the new amendment, individuals are prohibited from serving as party president, chairperson, or secretary-general for more than two terms, and this provision is set to take effect in 2026.

In a letter dated May 16, 2024, the founder of NUP, Moses Nkonge Kibalama, cautioned individuals involved with the NUP Kavule group, urging them to reconsider their actions.

"We have come to give good news to our members, MPs, councillors, and local leaders that yesterday, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at a meeting convened by the Electoral Commission, the forged document called the NUP Constitution, which was placed in the NUP file, was rejected," stated Kibalama.

He further warned that the ongoing membership registration exercise, in which MPs, councilors, and grassroots leaders are allegedly participating, is futile and illegitimate.

Those who persist in participating in this delusion will face the consequences of their actions.

"That means that all that is now being done under the educational constitution is illegal and void, and anyone who is working with Kavule's NUP faction is doing so at their own risk," Kibalama said.

Kibalama said ongoing NUP membership registration is illegal

He accused Lewis Rubongoya and Benjamin Katana of resorting to violent tactics, accusing them of making threats, phone calls, and surveilling the homes of NUP leaders who oppose their agenda.

"We also want to warn Lewis Rubongoya and Benjamin Katana, who we suspect are working against the liberation of Ugandans, to stop their violent and criminal acts of threatening, making phone calls, following, and searching the homes of NUP leaders who disagree with them," he stated.

However, Rubongoya, the NUP secretary-general, countered by stating, "They made our amendments and took them to be gazetted by the Electoral Commission, but a certain group of people came from nowhere with complaints carrying fake documents, claiming it is their constitution. That is where the contention lies, but it is useless"

He stated this group has never been their members.

" The constitution we have is the one that Kibalama handed over to us, and we have all the evidence, but we will provide it at the right time," he said

He stressed that the constitution they possess is the one received from Kibalama, dismissing the opposing group as fraudsters with baseless complaints.

"They don't have any valid points in the issues they are raising. We have the gazette that shows the amendments to our constitution. NBS television ran those stories. We have the constitution that was made in 2004, and we are trying to change it to make the party more democratic and participatory, allowing more people to embrace the party's leadership," he stated.

The party explained that the individuals challenging the amendment have no legal standing since they are not members of the party, and the law firm (Baraka Legal Associates) is not registered or recognised by the regulatory body, the Uganda Law Council.

Julius Mucunguzi, the EC spokesperson, acknowledged the internal strife within NUP regarding their constitution.

He stated that a meeting could not proceed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

"The meeting that could have discussed the NUP constitution could not proceed because the matter is in court, and all the parties in that meeting, chaired by Justice Simon Byabakama, agreed to wait until the court hears and resolves the case," he said.

Mucunguzi clarified that the members who went to court are from Kibalama's faction and did not oppose the NUP amendment.

He emphasised that the matter is currently in court, according to Musinguzi.

He reiterated that the EC, led by Justice Simon Byabakama, deemed it inappropriate to proceed with amendments or intervene in ongoing legal proceedings.

Mucunguzi emphasised the adherence to the sub judice rule, highlighting the EC's commitment to await the court's verdict before taking any further action.

Rubongoya expressed skepticism regarding the EC's stance, labeling it as state-sponsored sabotage.

The NUP adopted the constitution of the National Unity, Reconciliation, and Development Party (NURP) after the latter was rebranded as the NUP. Many political analysts and critics have often criticized the NUP for lacking a constitution as a legal basis for its activities.

Since its formation, the NUP has faced legal battles, starting with ownership conflicts when former party chairman Moses Nkonge Kibalama claimed that the party had been fraudulently acquired by Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine.

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