Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
Party President's Speech to the National Council Meeting April 2008
26 April 2008
ADDRESS BY UPC PARTY PRESIDENT MAMA MIRIA KALULE OBOTE TO MEMBERS OF NATIONAL COUNCIL AT UGANDA HOUSE, 26TH APRIL, 2008
Fellow congressmen and women, I welcome you all to this crucial meeting of National Council. This meeting comes exactly 11 months following the successful Central Executive Committee meeting that took place on 26th May, 2007. This meeting therefore affords us an opportunity to review the progress made during CEC, especially the constitutional amendments proposals. The Secretary General will take you through the proposed amendments and give a report on the activities that the party has been engaged in. The National Treasurer will give a report on the financial status of our party.
Congressmen and women, in my communication to members of the Central Executive Committee , I highlighted the challenges facing our party, which is reflected in our Strategic Plan and also informed the members about the NEC activities since I assumed office.
The biggest task that faces this meeting is how to initiate, guide and sustain the rebirth and renewal of UPC as a national, progressive and united party with a strong grassroot membership. This is fundamental to repairing, rebuilding, strengthening and preparing our party and country for the future. We need to reclaim the values, cultures and political tradition of UPC as a nationalist mass party espoused in our slogan of "Every where- UPC, Every Body UPC, All of us UPC".
This task of rebuilding our party calls for a multi-pronged political approach through the different party organs. This National Council needs to give some thought to how in practical terms, we should go about in fulfilling this responsibility. I am seeking your guidance on this matter because UPC belongs to us all. You are the leaders of this Party. All of us as members are owners of this great party and therefore must propagate its ideology like an evangelist to win new members and retain them for the party. We should all contribute in terms of ideas, finances and resources for the well being of the party. We should all spiritually and physically belong to this party and relentlessly campaign for it. UPC, like true faith, should be felt and indeed seen.
In order to rebuild our party and attain a mass mobilization, the flow of information in the Party's very important. This flow of information starts with you, the delegates, assembled here today. You must report back the deliberations of this meeting to party structures in your district. It is important that we communicate directly to our members so that they understand and internalize the decisions of the National Council. You should not wait for the party headquarters to do the reporting. You will not only be giving them information but also doing political education on UPC values, policies and programmes for the people of Uganda on why they should vote UPC back to power.
Unity and Reconciliation in the party. In order for the party to move forward and seriously prepare for the forthcoming LC elections and 2011 general elections, unity is paramount. There is only one UPC which we should all serve, invest our energies in and mobilize our skills to promote and preserve for posterity. The political identity of our party is very crucial and it is only through unity that we can keep it afloat that is why I am calling upon you, when the debate finally opens, to make a contribution and to do it in a friendly and comradely manner. The atmosphere of the debate itself should reflect unity in diversity existing in the party.
The unity of our organization got challenged during the leadership contest that took place in November 2005 Delegates Conference. Regrettably some of our members got swallowed in the NRM monolithic-cum-one party practice of individual merit as opposed to institutional merit. The consequences of this is:-
- Some of our leaders and members are now rejecting the democratic decisions of the Annual Delegates Conference and refuse to work with the elected and appointed leaders. While others believe that leaders who are elected or appointed are not good unless it is them who are elected or appointed.
- Money, self aggrandizement and the battle for personal power has taken centre stage in the fight for party position as opposed to serving the interest of the party.
- Bad publicity due to media leakages, rumour mongering character assassination through labeling of party leaders and members pre-occupy our time instead of mobilizing for the Party. The last twenty years indeed has destroyed the core of the Party loyalty which is the bedrock of any organization or institution.. The task now that faces my leadership is to rekindle party loyalty in each and every member.
Cooperation with Other Political Parties. Members of National Council, immediately after the presidential elections UPC pulled out of the G 6 arrangements that were crafted to fight for the return of multi party politics as the objective was achieved. Now some parties in the opposition are advocating for a form of coalition similar to former NARC in Kenya and MDC in Zimbabwe or the IPFC of 1996. What are the views of members of the National Council? Your national party leaders now seek your views.
Emerging Political Trends in African continent. As we chart the future of this great party, our members, other political parties, civil societies and Ugandans generally should be worried of the emerging trend in the African continent. The events that engulfed Kenya immediately after their general elections, the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to declare election results expeditiously, the constitutional amendments providing for life presidency in Cameroon, are all negative developments that worry us. All these events happening in Africa are not isolated but are reminiscent of President Gaddaffi's philosophy of revolutionaries not retiring even when they are voted out of power. The National Council today should pronounce itself on these events. Uganda as a country risks plunging similar situations come 2011 general elections since the life presidency project is a reality with us. What will UPC do if such a scenario occurs?
Congressmen and Congresswomen let this meeting be one for renewal, healing, planning and adoption of forward looking resolutions for the betterment of our great party and the pearl of Africa.
For God and my Country
Miria Kalule Obote