Lira—21, June 2020: Former Lands, Housing and Urban Development minister Honourable Daniel Omara Atubo has drawn a red line between himself and president Museveni who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Mr Atubo has therefore vowed never to work with a man he frequently declares is “a dictator” again.
Omara Atubo who is also former Otuke County Member of Parliament told TND News’ Frank Oyugi on Radio QFM’s Rainbow Line Big Talk on Wednesday that he would not at any point serve in Museveni’s government again because of what he calls dictatorship, bad governance and unconstitutional practices in the country.
He was responding to a raft of questions surrounding the controversial road map released by the electoral commission (EC) headed by Justice Byamukama Simon Mugenyi ahead of the 2021 “scientific” polls which has since sparked a huge debate with most opposition politicians slamming it.
Atubo asserted that Uganda’s murky political history from independence resulted from sham elections citing 1971 where Obote cheats DP party and the one of 1980 that would later see president Museveni rising up against UPC legitimate government which resulted into civil unrest and many lives were lost.
“For those who have the country at heart and cherish democracy should not just embrace the current (revised) roadmap in its current form because you are NRM and you think it is in your favour. No. The benchmark is that elections must be free and fair,” Atubo said.
By strictly consulting president Museveni who is also bound to be a presidential candidate in the looming elections, Atubo says the Electoral Commission is already causing suspicion within the opposition political parties who he says “have been locked out of this process”.
- Gen Kyaligonza’s challenger for NRM top seat gives EC ultimatum over 2021 polls
- NY MP hopeful cautions youth against election violence
Atubo has also questioned the integrity and the ability of the current electoral commission to deliver a credible election for the country and further alleged that some commissioners were appointed based on their relations with President Museveni.
However, the powers of appointing commissioners of the Electoral Commission are bestowed on the president according to Article 60 of the Constitution.
Article 60 of the Constitution. “There shall be an Electoral Commission which shall comprise; a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and five other members appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.”
It goes on to add: “Members of the commission shall be persons of high moral character, proven integrity and who possess considerable experience and demonstrated competence in the conduct of public affairs.”
The members of the commission shall hold office for seven years, and their appointment may be renewed for one more term only.
If the appointment of a member of the commission is being renewed, the renewal shall be done at least three months before the expiry of the first term.
A person holding any of the following offices shall relinquish his or her position in that office on appointment as a member of the commission—(An Extract from the Constitution)
The former Otuke County MP says Ugandans have lost trust in the electoral commission because all the past elections have had issues right from 1996, adding that reports of international electoral observers showed irregularities.
He, however, appreciated the challenges brought in by novel coronavirus pandemic which could disrupt some activities of the electoral commission; which necessitate some modifications but he said such adjustments should have been discussed with political parties and other stakeholders as opposed to superimposing unfavourable guidelines on other parties.
According to the latest guideline from the electoral commission, political parties are required to identify flag bearers from 22nd June to 22nd of July 2020.
Article 77(4) of the Constitution provides that where circumstances exist which would prevent a normal general election from being held, Parliament may, by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of all Members of Parliament, extend the life of Parliament for a period not exceeding six months at a time.
Asked if he would ever consider working with president Museveni who in 2011 jilted him after he lost the Otuke County parliamentary seat, Atubo responded: “I made a very good Constitution in 1995 because I loved this country more than I love Museveni…..and president Museveni told the country he would only serve for two terms…but he is cunning and a trickster….later he would remove the term limit and age limit from our Constitution…….that is why I am telling you the red line was drawn between me and him when he removed the age limit but I will never be violent,” Atubo affirmed.
Mr Atubo described his old boss as “a selfish leader who robbed Uganda off her democracy and labelled him further as a military Junta”.
Pressed further why he should not take blame for entrenching what he calls dictatorial regime of Mr Museveni , Atubo said he accepted to works as a minister of Lands under Museveni to protect the interest of the people of Lango, citing restoration of peace in Northern Uganda and protecting citizen’s land rights. He also added that he had to first consult the people of Lango who supported his move.
“I was arrested and tortured by David Sejusa (Tinyefuza) because I did not serve selfishly to entrench the dictatorial regime of Mr Museveni and also because I was very honest and severally resisted most of their very bad policies,” he recalls.
He has also appealed to the gallants sons and daughters from Lango who have chosen to serve with president Museveni to be nationalist and to act in the best interest of their country.
He cited the good work so far done by Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.
He challenged them to push for key development agenda and projects that will benefit the entire Lango sub-region such as the Rwenkuny-Apac- Lira to Kitgum roads that has not been tarmacked despite several promises from government.
Meanwhile, NRM’s Willy Omodo Omodo has dismissed Atubo’s scathing statement on his national chairman, Mr Yoweri Museveni.
According to Omodo, Atubo is simply a disgruntled leader because he was dropped by the president and said that it is very unfortunate for him to feel jealous of the opportunities that currently exist in Museveni’s government for young people.
Who is Hon Daniel Omara Atubo?
Born on 14 August 1947 (age 72) Atubo is a Ugandan lawyer, educator and politician. He is the former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in the Ugandan Cabinet, a position he served from May 2006 until May 2011.
In the cabinet reshuffle on 27 May 2011, he was dropped from the Cabinet. He represented “Otuke County”, in present-day Otuke district in the Ugandan Parliament, between 1987 and 2011. He lost his re-election bid to parliament in 2011.
He started practicing law in 1974 and continues to practice up to today. He worked as a Senior State Attorney from 1972 until 1976. Between 1977 and 1979, he was a senior lecturer in Law in Moshi, Tanzania. Between 1985 and 1987, he served as Secretary Bank of Uganda.
During the late 1980s, Omara Atubo served as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, from 1987 until 1991. He was first elected to parliament in 1987 and was continuously a Member of Parliament until 2011. He was appointed as Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development, serving in that capacity from May 2006 until he was dropped from the Cabinet in May 2011.
Atubo not new to controversies
On 15 April 1991, members of the National Resistance Council (NRC), the then Parliament, met to discuss a rebel screening programme set up in districts of Northern Uganda, which was causing divisions within the Ugandan Army. Following that meeting three men, including Omara Atubo, then a member of the Ugandan Cabinet, were arrested and charged, along with thirteen others, with treason. The case was later dismissed. Omara Atubo was dropped from the cabinet on account of those allegations.
Just prior to the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections, Omara Atubo, a member of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) then, disagreed with Miria Obote, the party’s president. Eventually Atubo left UPC and contested in an election on Independent ticket. He won and was offered a cabinet position in the ruling National Resistance Movement government, which he accepted.