What exactly is happening in UPC?
It is very unfortunate that the leadership of Olara Otunnu is blowing things out of proportions because members had actually settled to accept the ineffectual leadership of Otunnu and they were waiting for him to finish his term.
A lot of issues have been raised about the meetings of the leadership organs but little did we know that Otunnu was so determined not to call any single organ of national council and delegates conference except one in April 2011 which, under the leadership of John Odit as secretary general, we managed to hold. Since then Otunnu fired Odit, fired Edward Rurangaranga, fired the likes of Nuwagaba [Moses], Kanusu [Robert] and myself so the rest of the leadership just withdrew from him and the people that he brought on board seem not to have had the guts to prevail over him.
There are two cases before the High Court, had the differences reached a point of irretrievable breakdown that court had to be the only option?
What is shocking many of us is that we have reached this point Otunnu’s five-year term expired on March 13 without calling the delegates conference and national council. So what is causing fire now is that when he came under pressure he announced he was not going to seek another term but we had all the documents to show that he was going to manipulate the grassroots, manufacture artificially made lists of delegates who then he would convene, rubberstamp and they convince him to stand for another term.
When we got this, members rushed to court and got an order stopping him. He was using workshops paid for by two donors to get members and carry out grassroot elections quietly. That is when the order stopping him came requiring approval of the delegates conference and national council.
You have resorted to the courts as a battle ground for your political fights and the current leadership asserts that this has paralysed the party
Actually Otunnu is not honestThis court order came on December 23, 2014, three months before the expiry of his overall term. He cannot say he didn’t call national council in 2013, 2012 and even 2014 because of the court injunction.
Otunnu’s stance has always been that President Museveni is working to send UPC to its grave through agents like you
If he has this evidence that I David Pulkol is a mole and agent of subversion in UPC brought by Museveni why can’t he take me to a disciplinary committee of the party which he chairs? Let him prepare a charge sheet and we defend ourselves on each of those counts.
But why single you particularly and not Jimmy Akena or Betty Amongi whose wedding Museveni attended and contributed for?
I am not a mole. Why would Museveni donate a person like me to UPC I come to UPC, write a project proposal and money comes to UPC to buy equipment? You think Museveni loves UPC to that level that he donates me to mobilise money?
In 2011, sham as they are, [Badru] Kiggundu’s results show that the only place NRM went 6.5 per cent negative is Karamoja. What would Museveni benefit for us to work hard, UPC wins and Movement loses its share? What else can demonstrate my commitment to UPC? When campaigning for him it is ok but when I start to question I become a mole. Am I married and wedded to Museveni that I cannot disagree with him till death do us part?
You have not answered why the mole tag is only used against you
Because he has seen certain capabilities in me that dwarf him completely in terms of party leadership and, of course, now he is going to increase since I have made public my intention to vie for president of the party and the country.
But these allegations against you started before you even thought of standing?
He saw in me those capabilities. He saw if he allowed me that mileage would stand out more than his. I was shocked on April 29, 2011, when the central executive committee met and I made a presentation analysing the previous elections, drawing strategies on how we would gain more in 2016. When it came to making the same on 30th before national council, he tried to block me but the floor demanded that I be allowed and the chairman Rurangaranga put his feet down. That is when I discovered he wants to domineer.
There are also allegations of you dipping your fingers in party coffers to the tune of about shs100m…
The audit report by KPMG hired by Deepening Democracy Program clearly exonerates us. The grant was signed by the secretary general, Shs98m came into the account. He said I stole Shs200m at the start and now he talks of Shs100m when only Shs98m came to the UPC account.
Secondly I am not a signatory to that account. The chief administrative secretary, national treasurer and secretary general are. I was secretary for policy and national mobilisation working under the SG [secretary general]. All I ever signed for under that grant was Shs453,000.
But why again would he single you out?
I think it is worse now that he knows the contenders for the presidency are either me or Jimmy Akena so he has chosen his targets well. He says Betty Amongi, Akena and Pulkol are moles.
You are offering yourself for the presidency of the party. What do you bring to the table?
My coming back is as a child of UPC and youth winger in 1980 my late uncle Joshua AKol was deputy minister for transport and MP Moroto North constituency, he mentored me. I was a student leader at National Union of Students of Uganda and therefore I am coming back with a wealth of experience having served in Cabinet, Parliament, national security, Unicef and civil society. I want to bring all that wealth of experience to rebuild UPC, elevate it, make UPC more visible.
Will you offer yourself for the presidency of Uganda against your former boss Mr Museveni?
Yes. I shall offer myself and contest against Museveni. Even if it is this late hour, Museveni has made so many mistakes, his spark is over and he is repeating himself in many places and the population is tired, his lies have caught up with him.
As I see now if he gets a courageous, creative, agile person who doesn’t fear and sticks to issues and knows him, I have worked with him at close range so I can plot him on a graph and see it is straight line or a curve. He is predictable and one who is strategic, charismatic and can inspire hope in young people will give Museveni a run for his money. That means we have to work with many forces including those in NRM which is going to get more divided. [Amama] Mbabazi is going to go to full length knowing that the sole candidate thing will rule that day (NRM delegates’ conference) and it will expose Museveni more. He will resort to under hand methods and in their primaries more people will be rigged out so we shall have more independents and pull away votes from Museveni.
Are you in talks with Mr Mbabazi?
Well, we are in working relationship and friendship with a number of political actors.
I am asking about Mbabazi specifically
I can’t rule that out, whether him directly or those who work with him. But yes, we have talking relationship but the decision on whether to front him as a joint candidate or myself or anyone else will be made by the party though I have suggestions I shall make as party president of UPC.
Where do you plot the Amama factor coming to play?
The breakaway of Mbabazi leaves a void unlike us in 2005 who left Movement as individuals and he remained with our investment inside NRM. Amama is doing it more methodically so that he stretches him up to the limit, there is a split and they share the NRM. He doesn’t want to go alone with his family members. If we can organise and tap into that, we can deny Museveni the majority vote.
Dr Besigye told this newspaper recently that it is too late for any meaningful electoral reforms to take shape and Museveni should be left to finish his term so that in May, we have elections under a transition government…
First of all, a boycott is not an option but there are several options. Others are talking about electoral reforms, some say the elections won’t happen because there will be violence, others say there will be an uprising after the elections and we shall have a negotiated settlement and some people think it will be a walk over for Museveni so for me whichever way, I am pre-occupying myself with rebuilding UPC and taking it to State House.
Gen David Sejusa continues to stare at a blank future for his retirement. Why in your view would the army strive to keep people like him under lock and key?
There is no need for the army to keep people under duress. When Museveni twice wanted to appoint me brigadier, I refused and I thank God I didn’t accept because I would have been a court martial case. So when I see my colleagues like Henry Tumukunde being refused to retireit is dangerous to keep people under duress.
What do you make of these rampant killings in the country?
There is a terrorist threat given some of the actions of our government, we have won friends and enemies so we must be awake to this and whoever will succeed Museveni must keep it in the back of his mind and we should be more judicious in the use of our forces. Secondly there seems to be a creeping insurgency… When I see the pattern, frequency, this is beyond ordinary crime.
The person who shot Joan Kagezi, for instance, could only have been a professional because the first bullet shattered the spinal cord, the second one hit the left lung and settled in the diaphragm. Clearly the assailant knew his job. I am tempted to believe [police chief] Kale Kayihura’s talk of a rebel group. He has access to intelligence files, who am I to doubt him?
SOURCE: Daily Monitor