Uganda: Bobi Is NUP Leader, Kibalama Admits

25 September 2020

The founding leader of the political party that Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, took over has affirmed before court that the legislator is the rightful leader of the contested party.

Mr Kyagulanyi's leadership of the party came under scrutiny when two of its founders - Mr Difas Basile and Mr Hassan Twala - petitioned the High Court saying that Mr Moses Nkonge Kibalama, the founding president of the party, changed its name and transferred its leadership to Mr Kyagulanyi and his group without their knowledge and consent.

Mr Bobi Wine is jointly sued with the Electoral Commission (EC), Attorney General (AG), National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) acting president Moses Nkonge Kibalama, National Unity Platform Party (NUP) leaders David Lewis Rubongoya, Aisha Kabanda, Joel Ssenyonyi, Flavia Kalule Nabagabe, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu and Paul Ssimbwa Kagombe.

The petitioners claim that NURP was gazetted as a political party in Uganda on December 13, 2004, and issued a certificate of registration on December 28, 2004.

They further state that in 2019, without any right and in breach of the party constitution, Mr Kibalama and the Electoral Commission illegally changed its party name to NUP and on July 14, 2020 handed over its leadership to Mr Kyagulanyi and Mr Kagombe.

As the controversy over the name and leadership of the party ensued, Mr Kibalama was reported missing by members of his family and after a few days the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) admitted that they were holding him.

Mr Kyagulanyi said the army was holding Mr Kibalama to turn him against Mr Kyagulanyi's planned candidature for the presidency, while the army and the police said the 59-year old was being held for his own security.

Under cross-examination by NUP lawyer Medard Sseggona yesterday at the High Court presided over by Justice Moses Ssekaana, Mr Kibalama said during the time he was held, he met the Chief of Defence Forces (Gen David Muhoozi).

He declined to name the other individuals who were in the meeting.

Mr Kibalama said he was asked about NUP and his dealings with Mr Kyagulanyi.

Put to task to say who the leader of NUP is, Mr Kibalama said it is Mr Kyagulanyi, who he affirmed had been elected by a delegates conference in Kakiri two months ago.

He said whereas he did not sell the party to Mr Kyagulanyi as had been widely alleged, he expected some consideration.

"We had negotiated with Bobi Wine to advance us some money but by the time of finalising negotiations the other side had not honoured its promise," Mr Kibalama said in court.

Contradicting affidavits

During the cross examination, Mr Kibalama was tasked to explain why he swore two contradicting affidavits regarding the ceding of the leadership of the party and change of its name.

Mr Kibalama said he was compelled to make a U-turn on the change the party's name because he and his colleagues with whom they founded the party had not been given any slots in NUP, which he said had gained political fame after being turned over to Mr Kyagulanyi.

Court heard that Mr Kibalama purportedly signed an affidavit to retract the affidavit in which he agreed to change the name of the party four hours before he signed away the party's name.

He was quizzed on how he knew the contents of the affidavit that Mr Kyagulanyi's lawyers presented him to change the party's name beforehand. He said he "somehow" knew them.

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