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Parliament Clerk Blocks Otunnu From Withdrawing UPC EALA Candidate :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Parliament Clerk Blocks Otunnu From Withdrawing UPC EALA Candidate

Jane Kibirige, the Clerk to Parliament has rejected a decision by UPC president Olara Otunnu to recall the nomination of Chris Opoka as the party candidate for the East Africa Legislative Assembly elections.

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The Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige, has rejected a decision by UPC President Olara Otunnu to recall the nomination of Chris Opoka as the party candidate for the East Africa Legislative Assembly elections.

 

On Thursday, Otunnu wrote a two-page letter to Kibirige withdrawing the nomination of Opoka, who had been endorsed by Rev. Jacinto Ogwal, the UPC party Secretary General. In his letter, Otunnu says the nomination of Opoka was a result of a miscalculation and an unfortunate mistake.

He said the party was taking full responsibility for the mistake, adding that it could not, however, stand because the party had not yet fully finalized the process of selecting its candidate. Otunnu also explained that UPC was agreeable to the collective position adopted by the combined opposition in parliament to boycott the EALA elections and leave the NRM to go it alone, but instead go to court to seek an interpretation of the feasibility test in Article 50 of the East African treaty.  

Otunnu’s letter was copied to among others, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi, NRM party caucus Vice Chairman, David Bahati, all whips in parliament, all EALA candidates and presidents of the FDC, CP and Jeema.

 

But on Friday morning, Kibirige wrote back to Otunnu rejecting his request to withdraw the nomination of Opoka.

Quoting the Rules of Procedure, Kibirige said that she cannot withdraw the nomination of any candidate unless he or she personally decides to. Rule 7 (2) of the rules of procedure says that withdrawal of a nominee shall be effected by a written notification to the Clerk and shall be signed by the nominee personally; and by the Secretary General of the party which nominated him or her where a candidate was nominated by a political party.

Reacting to Otunnu’s letter, Opoka described the UPC president as a confused man who does not know the rules of the EALA elections. He said that he would not sign the withdrawal papers because he is interested in going to serve as an MP of the regional parliament. Opoka accused Otunnu of trying to usurp the powers of the party Secretary General. 

UPC and DP on Wednesday evening stealthily got their candidates—Chris Opoka and Denis Mukasa Mbidde—nominated to contest for a slot each at EALA, against an agreement by the combined opposition to boycott, sending the entire opposition into disarray and a serious state of confusion.

As it stands now, unless a reverse is made on the rules of procedure, the main opposition in parliament, the FDC, will not have any of their members represented at EALA for the next five years.

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