Bobi Wine’s effort to meet opposition leaders runs into resistance

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The National Unity Platform-NUP’s president, Kyagulwanyi Robert Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine’s effort to meet the presidents of other opposition political parties to establish a common working relationship seems to have met a brick wall as only a few have embraced it. 

Last month, Kyagulanyi wrote letters to the presidents of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC, Alliance for National Transformation-ANT, Democratic Party-DP and the Justice Forum-Jeema seeking to pay them a courtesy call but one month down the road, he has met leaders of only one party. 

While he met Jeema late last month, its President Asuman Basalirwa stayed away attributing it to a prolonged court matter he was handling in the Constitutional Court.

However, sources told Uganda Radio Network then that many party leaders were disenchanted with Kyagulanyi accusing him of having used and then dumped them. The sources said that during this year’s cycle of elections, Kyagulanyi supported exclusively the candidates of NUP despite of a long working relationship he had with Jeema. 

This sentiment reverberates across other opposition parties. A source within the FDC told us that Kyagulanyi ran an annihilation campaign during the election and that it would be hard for them to make up now.

“He was working to finish us but we survived and now he says he wants to talk to us; what is there for us to talk about?’ one senior party official said.

This same feeling was expressed publicly by two senior party officials; the Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Salaam Musumba, the deputy party president for Eastern Uganda. 

However, speaking to URN, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the spokesperson of FDC said as a party they have never resolved that they will not be working with NUP. Concerning the proposed meeting with NUP leadership, Ssemujju said the reason they turned down the first request was because they wanted to have a full picture of what Kyagulanyi wanted to talk about.

For ANT, Alice Alaso the acting Secretary General said they are ready to meet with any opposition political party because they are fighting for the same goal. 

She said the party had accepted to meet with Kyagulanyi but there was a clash in the program. On the day that the ANT had chosen to meet Kyagulanyi, his NUP party had organized a prayer for its members who are still held up in different prisons across the country and those killed in the course of Kyagulanyi’s political journey.

For the Democratic Party which was the biggest victim of NUP as it lost 10 of its MPs in the 10th parliament to the nascent party, Okoler Opio Lo Amanu who speaks for DP said they agreed to meet Kyagulanyi once they clear more pressing issues within their party.

Joel Ssenyonyi who speaks for NUP in an interview said the party is still desirous about meeting the leadership of other parties. Ssenyonyi, the Nakawa West MP said although there are some elements within these parties who abhor their rapprochement, the overwhelming majority wants to have a brotherly relationship with them.

In the 11th parliament that was sworn in last week, NUP wrestled the leadership of the opposition from the FDC which it had held since 2006 when the country returned to multiparty politics. The party got 57 MPs against 32 of the FDC.


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