“Let’s cross the bridge when we reach there” is a statement very synonymous with nearly every politician, and this is not any far from what Lira journalists were treated to at a press conference convened by Lira Municipality MP and UPC party President, Jimmy James Michael Akena Obote [JJMAO].
“I will be seeking reelection as UPC party president in the next delegate’s conference” were the opening statement from Jimmy Akena at his late father’s house in senior quarters, Lira central division on Monday morning where he addressed a press conference.
Akena then went ahead to declare that by implication all the positions in the party are open to contest, and urged party members to prepare themselves for these elective positions.
But, he was quick to add that the national council and the delegate’s conference which are due to sit next year will guide the party on how to proceed with its electoral processes.
“At the moment I cannot claim to be the presidential flag bearer of UPC, because that is an issue for the national council and the delegate’s conference to determine,” Akena told the media.
Akena used this point to lodge his scathing dossier on Dr Dan Okello, a former aspirant for UPC party President. Dr Dan Okello has recently declared he will contest for the president of Uganda on Uganda People’s Congress ticket.
In a leaked video, now viral on social media, Mr Okello, who claims he’s still the legitimate Lira district UPC party chairman – not Mr Ocari Dyangcal – claims Mr Akena can’t contest for Presidency because he lacks academic qualifications to do so.
Aging Okello went on further to say that had it not been because of a swift intervention from President Museveni who requested NRM’s Willy Omodo Omodo who was planning to sue Obote’s son over lack of academic papers, the UPC party head, Mr Akena would even be out of Parliament.
Another opinion from Mr Okello Dan, a perennial loser in any political contest claims that the Obote son is also poor to run for Presidency.
“In Lango there is a gentleman who is already saying he will contest on UPC ticket to be the President of Uganda. This is a gentleman who lost in UPC primaries in Erute North and in 2016 he contested as an independent [GoForward leaning candidate] for Erute North parliamentary election when he was even UPC chairman for Lira district,” Akena said of his critic, Dan Okello.
“There was no space for people like Dan Okello who doesn’t respect the party’s leadership and its structures,” Akena added, on Monday.
Will Akena contest against President Museveni?
It should be recalled that UPC did not field a candidate for President contest in 2016 general elections.
Later that year, President Museveni told media in Bar-Alegi State Lodge in Otuke district that the UPC led by Jimmy Akena was in support of his candidature.
Pressed by TND News’ Frank Oyugi as to whether his details will be on the Presidential ballot paper in 2021, Jimmy James Michael Akena did not deny nor commit, saying it was a matter for the national council and the supreme organ of the party to review and determine if they should field a candidate.
But Obote’s son says he is not of the notion that UPC should field a candidate for the sake of fielding, arguing that “in any case UPC had a presidential candidate in 2006 and 2011 and the results were not impressive”.
Akena also challenged opposition to not only focus on removing President Museveni, but rather capture more constituencies and have more MPs in Parliament because in his view, “that is one way of challenging President Museveni as well as influencing policies and laws”.
Akena was flanked by Lira district LC5 Chairman, Alex Patrick Oremo Alot who is not interested in having a female challenger for his seat and his Vice, George Okello Ayo.
Alongside Mr Oremo and Mr Ayo there were Bonny Ongura, William Onyanga who rejoined UPC from NRM after bad times inside the ‘yellow house’, and Chris Ongom who’s also the council speaker, Oyam district.