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UPC disown Olara Otunnu
Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) bigwigs have disowned their party boss, Dr Olara Otunnu saying he is not a genuine party member.
By Jeff Andrew Lule and Taddeo Bwambale  
Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) bigwigs have disowned their party boss, Dr Olara Otunnu saying he is not a genuine party member.
Addressing a press conference at Christ the King in Kampala on Tuesday, party national chairman, Maj. Edward Rurangaranga said Otunnu has never liked nor loved the party that he claims to be fighting for.
“This could possibly explain why he forgot to vote himself moreover after using 100% of all the available party funds to facilitate his campaigns,” he said. 
Rurangaranga stated; “If he is a real member of UPC as he claims, ask him to show you his party card. He is only here to divide the party. He has never been a UPC member and this can be proved in the manner he manages the party.”
This follows Otunnu’s move on Monday to fire two top party officials; secretary general, John Odit and secretary for policy and national mobilization, David Pulkol.
Rurangaranga said since Otunnu took on as party president he has been a man of mixed signals, secrecy and clandestine movements. 
“We also want to use this occasion to disassociate our party from his activities and we seek to build a reliable, dependable, and transparent and law-abiding party,” he added.
Rurangaranga said the National Council had decided that the two officials retain their offices until the next delegates conference in January 2012. He said Otunnu undermined party procedures and took personal decisions.
“He has no mandate to fire anyone. He is supposed to consult the national council for a fair hearing but he consulted the elder’s council which is not a party organ,” he added. 
Odit and Pulkol were fired on their return from a field trip with other party officials where they had been holding regional meetings to strengthen party structures in eastern and northern Uganda.
“The national party officials and the entire membership would like to categorically state the party president’s unilateral decision to fire Odit and Pulkol was done in bad faith, which cannot be accepted,” Rurangaranga stressed.
He said if the move is left unopposed, it will undermine, divide and destroy the party. He said the duo victims have been the engine of the progress within UPC since the February 2011 general elections.
Rurangaranga said it is because of the two officials that UPC held successful grassroots elections in western Uganda in June and developed the party’s strategic plan for 2011-2016 in August.
Angry youth
Last week, UPC youth forcefully took over party offices claiming to have been sidelined.
Rurangaranga said they were surprised that instead of solving matters addressed by the youth, Otunnu opted to sack other officials.
But Otunnu disowned the youth group describing them as ‘masqueraders’. He described the incident as part of a wider plan to destabilize the party by forces from within and outside his party.
“They are masqueraders. They are not genuine members of UPC and do not represent anybody but themselves. Some of them have been working with us as interns, only to turn around and claim they are party youth,” he said.
Sticking to plan
Rurangaranga said party activities are going to continue as planned without any hindrance to establish the youth league.
Odit said the party managed to secure funding for women and youth conferences which Otunnu had blocked.
He said they have already started building party structures countrywide to prepare for 2016.
Also, he stated they have got partners in Canada, Japan and USA who are willing to support their activities to rebuild the party without relying on party funds.
The Moroto County MP, Benson Obua apologized to all UPC members for having convinced them to vote Otunnu to lead the party.
“I perceived wrongly and I apologize for having led to this mess. We worked on his return and convinced people but we have been disappointed,” he said.
Others in attendance included Prof. Willy Anakbong (elder), Fred Ebil (Kole county MP), Moses Nuwagaba (Party spokesperson) and Robert Kanusu (Otunnu’s press secretary) among others.