Ululations filled the Kamwokya based People Power/National Unity Platform (NUP) headquarters as Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi formally received 12 members of Parliament and a host of other politicians from the Democratic Party (DP).
Kalungu West MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu who has been the DP whip in Parliament led 10 other DP MPs namely Medard Lubega Sseggona (Busiro East), Betty Nambooze Bakireke (Mukono Municipality), Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East), Veronica Nanyondo (Bukomansimbi Woman) and Robina Nakasirye Ssentongo (Kyotera Woman) to denounce the DP membership and pick Kyagulanyi’s NUP party cards.
Others are, Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Emmanuel Kigozi Ssempala (Makindye Ssabagabo) and Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala). These were joined by Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante who had been rumoured to be following his longtime compatriot, Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago who joined the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) about three weeks ago.
This brings to 17, the number of MPs that have so far joined a party that was until last month only known to a handful of people. Kyagulanyi already had MPs Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe([Kassanda North), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), David Kalwanga (Busujju) and Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North).
“The struggle now is real,” said Kyagulanyi, a musician turned politician who is aspiring to end President Yoweri Museveni’s 35-year-old presidency. Beaming with excitement, Kyagulanyi who is musically known as Bobi Wine went on to explain why he took time operating informally under the People Power movement.
“We wanted to be a gum that attracts people of different political shades until a time came for us to organize and move forward,” the musician said.
At least 15 members of the DP’s national executive committee (NEC) also picked NUP party cards denting a heavy blow to Norbert Mao who is now assured of the loyalty of fewer than five MPs and about 11 NEC members.
Police maintained a heavy presence in Kamwokya, barricading roads leading to the NUP headquarters that was packed with hundreds of NUP enthusiasts. While they cheered as names of the defecting DP politicians were read out, in the crowd were voices that raised suspicion about the motive of some of the new NUP recruits.
“I call on you to welcome the new entrants with an open heart. Don’t look at them as a threat against your positions, don’t discriminate against them, don’t treat them differently, don’t make them feel special or small because, in NUP, we are all equal,” Kyagulanyi said.
He went on to name the parties regional vice presidents – Lina Zedriga (Northern Uganda), Jolly Mugisha Kyomugasho (Western), Nambeshe (Eastern) and Mpuuga (Central).
He confirmed David Lewis Rubongoya as the party’s secretary-general and former Kampala Resident City Commissioner, Aisha Kabanda as the deputy secretary-general.