Supporters of rival camps in Uganda Peoples Congress on Wednesday clashed at Uganda House, deepening the party’s leadership wrangles.
The clash was sparked off when shadowy pressure group allegedly headed by Lira Municipality MP, Jimmy Akena stormed a press conference convened by the party president, Olara Otunnu.
Otunnu had called the press conference to explain why Akena and former UPC top official, Badru Wegulo should not sit on Milton Obote Foundation committees.
Midway during the press conference, Jimmy Akena together with Lira Woman MP, Lucy Ajok and the pressure group members stormed the meeting leading to commotion.
Akena, a son to UPC founder and former Ugandan president, Milton Obote, was manhandled by the pro-Otunnu group while Lucy Ajok was slapped during the commotion.
The latest event follows a July 11th letter by UPC secretary General, John Odit asking Milton Obote Foundation to terminate Jimmy Akena and Badru Wegulo from the Foundation’s board.
The letter said Wegulo should no longer be a member of the Board since he publicly announced his departure from UPC, when he joined the ruling NRM.
Akena on the other hand is accused of campaigning against Otunnu during the presidential elections and for being behind a pressure group undermining the leadership of UPC.
Akena held a press conference at Parliament on Tuesday and did not deny the fact that he did not campaign for Otunnu but questioned why Otunnu did not vote for himself at the polls.
He also did not deny knowledge of the pressure group and said he agreed with its values, aims and objectives.
Akena and his supporters claim Otunnu is failing the party by not working with his cabinet. They claim the former UN diplomat failed to facilitate the party candidates, whom he had promised two million shillings each during the elections, but only facilitated them with half a million shillings.
Some party supporters in interview had mixed reactions over the saga. Michael Kasoola, the UPC Sironko district chairman asked Akena to restrain himself from confrontational politics.
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Meanwhile a party member, who is not comfortable with Otunnu’s leadership style, says they have lost the expectations they had when he was voted to the party’s leadership
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Some of the pressure group supporters say Dr. Olara Otunnu has failed to apologize for having participated in the 1985 military coup, in which Obote lost the presidency for the second and last time.
Dr. Otunnu has always denied these allegations, arguing that it was Obote who asked Otunnu, then an ambassador to the UN, to work with the military junta.