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Sacked UPC officials sue Miria Obote

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th October 2009 03:00 AM

OFFICIALS of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) who were suspended last week have dragged the party president, Miria Obote, to court, arguing that their suspension was illegal.

OFFICIALS of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) who were suspended last week have dragged the party president, Miria Obote, to court, arguing that their suspension was illegal.

By Charles Ariko

OFFICIALS of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) who were suspended last week have dragged the party president, Miria Obote, to court, arguing that their suspension was illegal.

The four officials want an injunction halting the planned elections until the case is disposed of.

On October 5, Obote wrote to Livingstone Okello Okello, the Chwa MP and the party’s former vice-president, suspending him and three officials.

The three are Peter Walubiri, who until June was the party secretary general, Patrick Rubaihayo, the former national chairman, and his vice, Chris Opio. Obote accused the four of attempting to usurp her powers as the party president.

She had earlier first ejected them from her cabinet in a reshuffle in June. She replaced Okello Okello with Badru Wegulo.

Walubiri was replaced by Chris Opoka Okumu, while the national chairman post was given to Yona Kanyomozi.

In her letter, Obote accused the officials of holding an illegal meeting under the guise of a workshop organised by the East African Law Watch Centre, an organ which she said was not associated with UPC. She said the meeting was tantamount to a “rebellion against the constitution and the party leadership”.

In a petition filed yesterday at the High Court by Omoding Ojakol and Okallany Advocates, the officials said their suspension was intended to pave way for the manipulation of the electoral process to exclude those perceived to be critical of Obote from participating. “If they have gone to court, it proves that the president was right to suspend them. They want to disorganise UPC,” Wegulo said yesterday.

“They have exposed themselves as enemies of the party. Whom are they working for?”

The four officials also alleged that the current party cabinet is illegal since it was not approved by the national council.

“The cabinet is operating without a budget approved by the national council and accordingly, the cabinet also has no mandate to run the affairs of the party, including purporting to suspend party members,” they stated.

“If the party conducts internal elections, the constitution shall be breached,” the petition added.

But Wegulo said the party was now using a new constitution and the four officials participated in its formulation.

The suspension of the officials comes at a time when the party has announced a roadmap to the 2011 general elections.

Last week, the national treasurer, Patrick Mwondha, said any person who wanted to contest for the presidential seat must submit a written request to the party secretariat by October 31.

Registration of party members from village level across the country will end by the same date.

The party had earmarked November 8 as the date for holding branch meetings. Parish and sub-county elections have been scheduled for November 10 and 14 respectively.

Miria Obote stood for president in 2006 and garnered 0.6% of the vote. Her son, Jimmy Akena, has shown interest in standing for the presidency in 2011.

Sacked UPC officials sue Miria Obote

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