As It Happened: Police Bosses Crush Otunnu Coup


viagra 60mg decease geneva; font-size: small;”>12:01: Police commanders Norman Musinga and Fred Kaweesi are in a make-or-break meeting with youth who overthrew Otunnu. Musinga and Kaweesi are just moving out of UPC headquarters. Youth leaders tell us the meeting was stormy. They say police bosses convinced them to allow Otunnu return to office. Minutes of the meeting will be provided soon.

capsule geneva; font-size: small;”>The cops intend to bring an end to the political meltdown threatening to sink UPC. The meeting is in UPC boardroom. Other offices on the six floor have been padlocked. Ssenkumbi is having a discussion with journalists outside Uganda House.
11:33: Kampala Metropolitan police commander Fred Kaweesi arrives in police truck registration number UP 1374. Several other cops are deployed. Coup plotters are under siege.
11:19: Kampala Central Police Station Commander Norman Musinga has arrived in a police patrol truck registration number UP 0917. He is flanked by over 15 heavily armed police officers.

11:15: Ssenkumbi tells our reporter Ronald that Otunnu telephoned him last night seeking his intervention in the matter.

“Otunnu wants police to intervene. So we are trying to have a dialogue with UPC youth to settle their grievances amicably. We don’t want violence,” Ssenkumbi says.

He further warns police’s action will be determined by the deliberations between UPC youth and the force. However, anti-Otunnu youth say the UPC boss should start thinking about starting his own party.

10:25: Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibin Ssenkumbi has arrived at UPC headquarters in Kampala.He is negotiating with UPC youth leaders led by Lazarius Egwang (Northern Uganda youth leader) and Jimmy Omagor.

The enraged youth who overthrew Otunnu are assuring Ssenkumbi that the UPC leader is covertly conniving with two NRM mafias to bring down their party. They insist Otunnu should come to the office so they can tell him reasons for his ouster.

Journalists have been blocked from accessing the 6th floor where UPC offices are located. Tempers are flaring.

The arrirval of Ssenkumbi marks the advance stage of the planned raid. More police combatants are expected at the party offices shortly.

09: 30: Police have accomplished plans to carry out a massive raid on the UPC headquarters today Friday.

The move is aimed at crushing a coup that overthrew Dr. Olara Otunnu on Thursday morning.

Well-placed sources indicate Otunnu yesterday appealed to police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura to help him defeat youths who have forced him out of office.

The raid is expected to be carried out by the Field Force Unit commanders and CID detectives. Rehearsals are being carried out at Kampala Central Police station. Our reporter Gold Ronald who is at Uganda House says all offices of Otunnu and his aides are under key and lock. UPC youth leaders who commanded the coup have started arriving. “The mood is tense, we are expecting a showdown here between UPC youth and police,” Gold says.

More information will be availed moments after police storms Uganda House.

Just two years after Dr. Olara Otunnu arrived in Uganda amid fanfare and fireworks, the former UN diplomat has officially been overthrown as UPC President by power-hungry party youth leaders.

Commanded by fallen President Milton Obote’s son James Akena and a one Xavier Oluk, the youth have declared Otunnu is no longer President of UPC until fresh elections are held.

“Otunnu has been a Captain of a sinking ship. He has to let other party officials take over. We the youth leaders have taken over the headquarters of UPC at Uganda House. We shall teach Otunnu an unforgettable lesson if he ever steps foot here again,” Oluk warned.

The Coup, which is similar to the one that ousted UPC founder Dr. Milton Obote in 1985, is this time placing the last nail in the coffin of Otunnu’s fading political career.

Akena has in the past accused Otunnu of colluding with the Tito Okello group to oust his father. Otunnu denies the allegations.

Oluk says Otunnu has marginalised the UPC youth for long. “We are alienated in our own party. We are marginalised. Youth activities are not funded. Enough is enough, Otunnu must go,” Oluk confirmed in an interview with our political news desk.

This news website exclusively reported on Wednesday Otunnu was facing an imminent coup.

Shortly after the story rocked the nation, the former presidential candidate, who became staple for comedians around the globe for not participating in the February elections, was kicked out of power.

The discontent in the party has been boiling for long over the way the party has been managing its resources. Otunnu had successfully ensured his spin masters attributed the inside storm to police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura. The party accused Kayihura of funding a rebellion of UPC youth to takeover.

However, Oluk said Otunnu has been deliberately side-lining the funding of youth structures.

Insiders say Otunnu was scared of managing a well-facilitated youth league as it would easily undermine his authority.


The power-struggle crisis that has engulfed UPC is threatening the entire existence of five-decade-old party.

As UPC leaders engage in make-or-break meetings aimed at hammering out a solution to the deepening crisis, youth leaders have warned deputy party President Bbosa that their National Council chairman Edward Rurangaranga had a few days to organise fresh elections.

“We met Bbosa in the UPC boardroom on Tuesday. He was too arrogant to listen to our grievances. We assured him that without fresh elections, we shall stay in charge of the headquarters,” Oluk says.

The development is so tricky for UPC as police, which should have intervened to reign in on the youth, has in the past been the punching bag for party leaders’ verbal blows.

Party publicist Moses Nuwagaba says the situation is under control yet the youth have padlocked all offices of top leaders after walking away with their secret files.

Oluk says the better part of funds from Milton Obote Foundation projects particularly Uganda House are squandered by the likes of Otunnu.

The coup is a test of Otunnu’s popularity and ability to control power in cracking, cash-strapped party.


And unless UPC leaders find a quick solution to the internal bickering and reach a consensus, many political pundits believe there is a serious risk the disenchanted youth could trigger an explosion in the party.

Many political observers saw it all coming of course, arguing that Otunnu, who jetted in from New York where he had camped after taking off to exile in 1986, could hardly keep the party on the right track.

Analysts started doubting Otunnu’s seriousness in leading the country when he fell short of winning at least a single heart among millions of Uganda’s women.

Of course, in a conservative country like Uganda, a ‘single’ man’s chances of taking over the highest political office in the land are minimal. By downplaying this crucial point, Otunnu was unknowingly shooting himself in the foot.

Otunnu, who had hopes Uganda would get excited by his return, was in fact shocked when a small crowd of UPC supporters gathered at the airport to receive him. After all it was a Saturday morning!

He never learnt lessons.


In a bid to boost his Presidential bid, Otunnu toured the country, making stopovers in different districts. He never pulled crowds. UPC strategists started doubting whether Otunnu would lead him to victory.

In several meetings he held with UPC leaders especially in Nairobi with the likes of Hon. Okello Okello, Otunnu told party leaders he would just ring Obama on his mobile phone and rein in on Museveni.

Otunnu further promised he would convince US State Department to mobilise western media to monitor presidential elections, “which would nip in the bud Museveni’s plans to rig elections.”

He also promised his campaigns would be fully facilitated by United States, UK and several other countries and a “sea of well-connected friends in the diaspora.”

The opposition-leaning media in Kampala heaped praises on him on cover pages. Magazines portrayed him as the long-awaited political saviour of the nation! Otunnu grew wings as UPC leaders salivated and licked their thumbs, hoping days of “eating the national cake were around the corner.” They thought Otunnu was an Obama of sorts in Uganda who would take power by the magic of words!

The likes of Bbosa were assured Otunnu would be President come 2011 and return to power after two decades of grassing.

The UPC leaders campaigned for Otunnu who floored James Akena for the party’s presidency. He quickly rushed to Mengo to make peace with Buganda over UPC sins committed in 1966 when Obote attacked Kabaka Edward Muteesa’s palace thus sending him into exile.

Like any western-politics-oriented leader, Otunnu thought by merely saying “we are very sorry for attacking Kabaka” would pull the Buganda block vote to UPC. Little did he know he was opening fresh wounds that would cost him presidency!

Observers then said Otunnu should have distanced himself from Obote’s sins instead of taking collective responsibility.


However, hopes of Otunnu taking over presidency started dwindling when he began hurling insults at President Museveni during his campaigns.

The rural folks could not understand how an Obote man could describe Museveni as a killer! He accused Museveni of killing Acholis at a time when Northern Uganda was recovering from effects of war. Crops were being grown and rustlers disarmed. The area was so peaceful – a credit for Museveni.

He never had strong points in his manifesto neither did his strategists come up with reasonable campaign catch-words. When they tried one, it was “Taking Back Our Country” -a total disaster. Ugandans thought Otunnu intended to “return the country back to the days of Obote!”

Otunnu knew only one language – English. He could hardly speak Luganda. His western-accent worked against him. He looked more of an American than Ugandan.

Otunnu further killed his political ambitions when he refused to join a joint force of opposition groups. He went on his own and reaped nothing but defeat.

When Otunnu fell short of turning up to vote for himself in the Presidential election, the country knew the guy had all along taken them for a ride.

It was on that day that UPC youth at Makerere rose up in arms to challenge his hold on power. Since then, his grip on UPC presidency has been loosening.

Cohesion in the party was unravelled. Backbiting worsened. Donors held their funds. Otunnu could hardly stem the panic and pay back hefty piles of debt. Otunnu’s ability to stabilize the party continued to fall as UPC crumbled as a pack of cards from a kid’s fingers.

Otunnu’s desperate efforts in sorting out the mess by coming up with ideas including accusing Kayihura of plotting his downfall have left Otunnu on the verge of political suicide. Whether he will regain control of the troubled party, only time will tell.


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