Chris Opoka Okumu, one of Uganda’s nine representatives at the East African Legislative Assembly—EALA, says his party, the Uganda People’s Congress, duly nominated him for to contest.
Opoka says Father Jacinto Ogwal, the party secretary general went to Parliament together with party spokesperson Okello Lucima and Buzzu Androa, the party Electoral Commission Chairman.
Opoka says this was after an agreement with the party chief whip Betty Amongi that they nominate only those who had collected the twenty required signatures.
A quick primary nomination exercise then took place within the confines of Parliament. This was among candidates, Francis Kiyonga, Margaret Ateng, Eric Sakwa and Charles Akora.
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Olara Otunnu, the party President has vehemently denied endorsing Opoka as the party candidate. He told journalists last week that Opoka was a National Resistance Movement project and a small group of UPC members in Parliament led by Amongi.
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Father Ogwal argues that he was tricked when he was told that all party officials were in agreement with Opoka’s nomination. However, he could not reach the Vice President Joseph Bossa and Otunnu, who were both upcountry, to confirm.
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Buzzu also clarifies that on the May 23 he went to Parliament and found six UPC MPs in a closed-door meeting in which he was denied entrance.
At the end of the meeting they asked him to nominate the final candidate before the deadline that evening at the registrars’ office. When he returned to the UPC party headquarters he was told Opoka had not applied.
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Buzzu reveals that the internal process to nominate a candidate for EALA is still on. Twenty one candidates will next week sit for interviews to choose the official party candidate.
The candidates include Winfred Adiro, Margaret Ateng, Livingston Okello Okello, Harold Acema, Okello Lucima, Patrick Kafuko and Francis Kiyonga among others.
The party maintains that they are still waiting for the EALA case to be heard and ruled in Arusha Tanzania.
The Forum for Democratic Change sent a legal team to the East African court of Justice seeking an interpretation of the rules of procedure of the Parliament of Uganda which defines how membership to EALA is constituted in consonance with the treaty.
Opposition political parties had agreed to boycott the EALA nominations until the regional court ruled on the matter. However, disagreements emerged after the Democratic Party and UPC decided to participate without the knowledge of the FDC.