National Unity Platform (NUP) President, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert has vowed that his party will continue receiving funding which is prescribed by law from the government of Uganda.
Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine made the bold commitment in a statement his party issued Friday in reply to stinging claims that his NUP party received Shs3.1bn from government yet it continues to discredit it.
This storm was stirred for NUP by Democratic Party (DP) President Norbert Mao, who, via his Twiter handle, shared a screenshot of a newspaper report showing the amount of money received by each political party funded by government.
Under its caption, Mao took swipe at supposed double standards by Bobi Wine and his NUP thus: “Thanks to the useless photo opportunities, tea drinking and bootlicking by some of us in IPOD many kidnapped, arrested & tortured activists were released. In addition funding to parties with MPs was more than tripled. Some eat meat. Others eat soup! #WeAreRemovingADictator.”
In a subsequent tweet, he stung more: “I’m no prophet but I predict that as the struggle continues we shall see fashion shows, boat cruises, lavish weddings, foreign trips with family and friends and more. Also new rides. Though in that league most of the personalized number plates will be in Kyadondo road, Nakasero.”
Shortly after Mao’s tweet, former MP Kato Lubwama who was ousted by NUP’s Aloysius Mukasa also dug in: “I once told u that politics is about sharing resources but some of you didn’t understand and started abusing me. Look at the three billions allocated to @NUP_Ug, it’s now time for boat cruises and other goodies. God help Uganda mbu tuli mu struggle.”
Not M7 Money
However, in a response to the above claims, Bobi Wine issued a statement in which he trashed the talk that NUP received Museveni money, while also reiterating NUP’s reluctance to join IPOD.
Branding the allegations as “PROPAGANDA ABOUT IPOD FUNDING” stressed that NUP is not part of the IPOD arrangement and has never received any support from that platform. He added that unlike current propagandist misrepresentations that the said money was received from president Museveni courtesy of IPOD, his party is legally entitled to that money from government pursuant to provisions of the Ugandan law.
“For clarity, section 14A of the political parties and organisations act (as amended) provides that ‘Government shall contribute funds or other public resources towards the activities of political parties or organisations represented in parliament’”. He added, “Sub-section (c)states that: ‘In respect of normal day to day activities, funding shall be based on the numerical strength of each political party or organisation in parliament. These funds are allocated by parliament, disbursed from the consolidated fund and duly accounted for’.” He then stressed, “It is not Museveni’s money!”
Bobi Wine revealed that despite the ‘regime and its tools’ knowing that it is false, they have continued to cluster government funding to NUP as IPOD money. He however noted that “Like we said recently, it (IPOD) has been hijacked by Museveni to enforce his despotic will. We deliberately decided to forego all the opportunities and resources it extends to its members, for the sake of our principles and the values we represent”.
He also took offence with President Museveni’s recent suggestion to amend the law such that only parties under IPOD receive government funding.
Bobi wine however promised that NUP would challenge the move, saying NUP has genuine reasons for rejecting to join IPOD to ‘talk and hobnob’ with Museveni.
“Our reasons for not joining IPOD were clearly spelled out and need no repetition. The increasing incidents of torture, abductions, illegal detentions and other forms of repression assure us that our decision not to join IPOD was well thought-out!” he added.
WHY MAO, KATO BITTER
Mao’s tweets stem from a longstanding enmity between her and Bobi wine and his NUP party whose methods of work seem unpalatable to him. Currently, Mao is among the enraged group of Achoil region leaders including MPs Anthony Akol and Ojara Mapenduzi who accuse NUP of trying to frustrate the medical aid accorded to their brother Speaker Jacob Oulanyah who was recently flown abroad for referral treatment, albeit on every exorbitant expenses.
Recently, Mao and group came out strongly and accused NUP of pushing a tribalistic agenda against Oulanyah. Saying blood is thicker than water, the Maos questioned why Bobi Wine’s NUP only came out to demonstrate against Oulanyah’s treatment yet many Ugandans including NUP officials have previously sought treatment abroad on government funds.
It is thus not surprising that as soon as the political parties’ money list came out, Mao jumped on it.
For Kato’s case, it is a public secret now that he has had no kind words for Bobi Wine ever since NUP’s Aloysius Mukasa beat him hands down in the Lubaga south parliamentary elections. It should be recalled that Kato was among a group of opposition MPs who trashed NUP’s power in the run-up to the elections. Many of these had been advised to move with the tide of the NUP wave like Nambooze, Sseggona, Muwanga Kivumbi, Abed Bwanika and Mathias Mpuuga. However, Kato and the likes of Mubarak Munyagwa, Paul Mwiru and Stella Nyanzi among others told off such voices, promising to use their strong brands to defeat whichever politician the NUP amateurs planted against them.
BOBI: THAT’S EMPTY PROPAGANDA
Results of the previous general elections show that the NUP wave swept across the country, causing a lot of new political dynamics. For instance, president Museveni and his NRM lost miserably in Buganda, while DP and FDC were relegated from their positions as the country’s main opposition parties. As we speak now, NUP is the leading opposition party in parliament, overtaking FDC and earlier on, DP and UPC.
It is however safe to say that the NUP’s position is under threat, with two much propaganda currently directly towards it with the aim to weaken it. Sadly for NUP, the propaganda comes from both NRM as well as fellow opposition parties.
Just after the elections, NRM accused NUP of playing tribal politics which led to its loss in Buganda. Quickly, this narrative was picked by the opposition who have since joined NRM in chorusing NUP to be a reincarnation of Kabaka Yekka.
Most recently, focus has now turned to apparent lack of accountability and money fights in NUP yet these are the same evils it accuses other political parties of perpetuating.
The latter also explains why Mao as well as NRM strategists have accused NUP of secretly taking money from president Museveni whom they ironically call a dictator and have even vowed not to meet under the auspices of IPOD.
Recently, NUP attracted criticism after it flatly rejected their member Abed Bwanika’s proposal that they meet and plead with president Museveni to release all their political prisoners. This was in light of the much published torture accusations against government security agencies which even resulted into LoP Mpuuga leading a boycott of parliamentary proceedings.
It should be noted that Mao’s outbursts against NUP began during the last general campaigns. At the time, Mao’s DP and NUP traded accusations, with Mao bitter that NUP was undermining the efforts of older opposition parties in its quest to oust president Museveni. Conversely, NUP accused Mao and other political parties of frustrating efforts by the opposition to front a single candidate. According to NUP, this was out of fear that Bobi Wine, a newcomer to the political scene and struggle against Museveni, was fast emerging as the best candidate. It is in fact for this reason that on seeing that Mao and group were dragging their feet on the matter, Bobi Wine launched a solo bid which was enabled after he beat Government intelligence machinery to get the NUP political party from Moses Nkonge Kibalama. This was after Museveni marketer Balaam Barugahara had quickly registered people power as his personal entity as part of the grand scheme to outlaw people power. It also followed a plot to ban independents from standing for elective positions in the country.
These accusations and counteraccusations left NUP and most original opposition parties at loggerheads, with matters worsened when NUP managed to have some key members from older political parties cross to its ranks.
Curiously, even after the elections the bad blood continued especially after NUP’s wave swept many politicians who thought they were too strong to be shaken by NUP’s newfound power. Among these were Kato Lubwama, Mubarak Munyagwa, Joyce Ssebugwawo and Stella Nyanzi, among others.
However, the most bruised party was DP from which NUP got Betty Nambooze, Muwanga Kivumbi, Medard Sseggona, Mathias Mpuuga, among others.
And most recently, Bobi Wine caused further division when he issued two missives exposing how the opposition move to oust Museveni was betrayed by greedy and self-seeking politicians who spoke red, blue or green during the day but at night dined on the yellow table with president Museveni. He then went on to name and shame some personalities like Joyce Sebugwawo.
ENTER IPO/MAO DISMISSAL ISSUE
Bobi Wine enraged his opposition colleagues further when he refused to entirely join the Inter-Party organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), a loose umbrella body for all political parties in Uganda. Bobi wine revealed that they were not interested in IPOD because it has since been hijacked by president Museveni who now uses it to achieve personal control over the entire political space. He then castigated opposition parties that meet with Museveni under IPOD. This explains why Mao is now out to get back at him.