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Multipartyists have very short memory

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th January 2003 03:00 AM

It is now common knowledge that Uganda’s so-called multipartysts are endemically linked to the boycott of politics.

It is now common knowledge that Uganda’s so-called multipartysts are endemically linked to the boycott of politics.

The Other SIDE OF THE COIN With Paul Waibale Senior

It is now common knowledge that Uganda’s so-called multipartysts are endemically linked to the boycott of politics. That is why any prudent observer of Uganda’s political scene cannot be surprised when those who claim to speak for UPC, DP, and CP say they will not bother to comply with the requirement under the Political Parties and Organisations Act to register before the deadline.

Interestingly, they have not learnt any lessons from the fact that all their previous boycotts have not yielded any fruits. it is a convincing illustration that the only lesson man can learn from history is that man never learns from it.

Let us just take a quick flashback. UPC said they were boycotting the Constitutional Assembly (CA) and even refused to name the party’s two representatives. But several UPC diehards ignored the party’s directive and won seats in the CA. As for the Democratic Party (DP) the party’s boss himself, Dr. Paul Kawanga Semogerere, was a CA member. But he refused to sign the Constitution when it was enacted!

Strangely, both UPC and DP stalwarts are currently engaged in a petition which claims that the political Parties and Organisations Act contravenes the very constitution that Semogerere refused to endorse and UPC boycotted the process of its enactment.

Incidentally, the Constitutional Court to which they have resorted for redress is itself a baby of that same constitution.

In yet another circus, UPC, DP and CP boycotted the referendum which was a constitutional requirement.

The referendum was a grand opportunity for the multipartysts to expunge section 269 from the Constitution and clear the way for the unrestricted operation of all political parties. But they chose to boycott it and now they are challenging a law that has its roots in the verdict the electorate dispensed.

Of course they have a legal right to challenge the law but they have no right to disobey it while it is still on the statute books. The requirement for the parties to register is provided for in Article 6(1) of the Act which states “......a political party or organisation continued in existence under article 270 of the constitution may continue in existence but shall apply for registration within six months after commencement of the Act.”

And article 6(4) categorically states that “......any existing political party or organisation which fails to file the necessary documents for registration shall legally cease to exist and operate”.

Given that situation, the options for the three political parties saved by article 270 of the constitution are crystal clear. They have to register before the deadline or cease to legally exist and operate.

Of course, they may take the bizarre course of continuing to exist without legal recognition, but what good can that be to any practising politician?

I understand that JEMA, which is not one of the political parties saved by article 270 of the constitution are also saying they will not register. The simple explanation is that legally, JEMA has never existed and will never exist unless it is registered. There is no time limit for the formation of new parties, so Kibirige Mayanja, the JEMA boss, can take his time.

UPC, DP, and CP could have another obstacle to registration that they might not be eager to talk about. It is pertinent to ask the question: who in UPC would apply for registration, Dr Rwanyarare or Cecilia Ogwal MP? Who would apply for the registration of DP, Dr Semogerere or Francis Bwengye? And who would apply for the registration of CP, Ken Lukyamuzi or Mayanja Nkangi?

With that question unresolved, why should anybody be surprised that all those parties are dodging registration and coining up laughable excuses?

Multipartyists have very short memory

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