Bobi Wine and other politicians aligned to 'People Power' addressing reporters at Magere on Wednesday

Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has moved to establish a formal People Power political structure as the 2021 polls draw close.

Bobi Wine on Wednesday unveiled close to 150 regional co-ordinators for People Power countrywide. He also named co-ordinators for the youth, women, persons with disabilities, academic institutions, and the entertainment industry.

Unlike previous People Power events, this time the top leaders of the Democratic Party (DP) bloc, including Norbert Mao, Michael Mabikke, Abed Bwanika, and Samuel Makaku were conspicuously absent.

Internal power struggle

According to sources, the naming of co-ordinators came amid a fierce power struggle within People Power. Sources said the lineup confirmed a growing rift between Kyagulanyi and the DP bloc leaders.

The source said that Abed Bwanika a swing politician wanted to take control of all key political decisions in people power camp and had already selected his own team to work with. Bobi Wine and Besigye were meant to be sidelined.

They added that some of the DP bloc leaders led by Abed Bwanika and Mao felt sidelined by Kyagulanyi especially when he named Ssenyonyi as spokesperson without consulting them, and when he held a meeting with Besigye behind their back.

Bwanika was accusing Bobi wine due to media reports that Kyagulanyi had agreed to back former FDC president Dr. Kizza Besigye during the forthcoming elections. But with his declaration on Wednesday, it appears an alliance between Kyagulanyi and Besigye for a single candidate is unlikely.

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Ssenyonyi denied any power struggle, saying the DP bloc and People Power are distinct entities.

“DP bloc conduct their own activities. We do the same and only notify each other of any developments,” he said.

About the absence of key DP leaders from the event, Ssenyonyi said they only invited co-ordinators, although other people turned up as wellwishers.

“That is why DP bloc leaders, who are also People Power co-ordinators, such as Dr Lulume Bayiga, were present at the press conference, it was not for everyone. Even the party leaders were just notified,” Ssenyonyi explained.

Contacted for a comment on the development, Mukaku said naming the co-ordinators is a step in the right direction.

“Kyagulanyi has presidential ambitions and it is good to get people to help him pursue that ambition. I had not seen the list of the co-ordinators before it was unveiled, so to fully accept it, I have to go through it and discuss it with Hon. Kyagulanyi,” he added.

Abed Bwanika wanted to take charge of the new opposition coalition

DP vice-president Denis Mukasa Mbidde also welcomed the development. “It is now clearer, engagements and strategies are more directed than it was before. They can now identify opponents and allies.

I am the vice-president of DP and I can’t be a regional coordinator, it is so minor, but of course, I am part of People Power. I have heard about the power struggle, but I am still investigating the allegations,” he explained.

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Meanwhile, the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) leader Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu urged ANT members not to be engaged in “controversies over instances where there are colleagues who cut across the Alliance and People Power.”

Kyagulanyi’s strategy

Kyagulanyi said part of his plan is to empower institutions to make them independent. “Instead of big institutions, in Uganda, we have a big personality, something People Power wants to rectify by returning this power to the people, empowering and strengthening institutions so that they can deliver to the people of Uganda,” he argued.

People’s Power has largely entrusted legislators to head the teams in the regions. There are National Resistance Movement (NRM), DP, FDC, JEEMA, and independents legislators who have taken up positions in the People Power.

They include Kassiano Wadri (Independent), Lucy Akello (FDC), Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (NRM), Barnabas Tinkasimire (NRM), John Baptist Nambeshe (NRM), Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA), Agnes Nabulindo and Winnie Kiiza (FDC).

Others are Robert Centenary (FDC) Medard Ssegona (DP), Latif Ssebaggala, Lutamaguzi Ssemakula (DP), Angelline Osegge (FDC), David Kalwanga Lukyamuzi (IND), Muwanga Kivumbi (DP), Mathias Mpuuga (DP) and Francis Zaake, among others