NUP Isn't A New Party - It Is Nearly 20 Years Old

By  Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba, UK
Click for Full Image Size

Dear friends,
A lot of people wrongly refer to the National Unity Party (NUP) as a new party, but this is a party that was registered in December 2004, same time as the FDC. What confuses me is that the Electoral Commission website has it registered on August 28, 2019, yet the delegates conference to change its leadership from Moses Kibalama to Robert Kyagulanyi took place during the Covid lockdown of July 2020. Norbert Mao had promised to expose more of how Museveni was protecting the NUP on EC books,but I don't know what happened to him the moment he agreed to work with NRM.

What I want to stress is that the party changed its name from National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP) to NUP before Kyagulanyi became its president. NUP was never founded by Kyagulanyi as widely reported in the media.

The original founder, Kibalama, and his ‘friends’ from the original NURDP party organised a delegates’ conference in May 2021 in Rubaga Division in which they unanimously agreed to re-appoint Kibalama as their president. In 2022, Kibalama again tried to get his party back from Kyagulanyi- he opened offices in Rubaga Division, but he was once again frustrated by the Electoral Commission.

Ugandans should know that changing the name of a person or organisation doesn’t make it younger. General David Sejusa was born on 13th November 1954. It doesn’t make him younger because he changed his name from David Tinyefunza. You can only legally (not biologically) become younger when you swear an affidavit to reduce your age as NUP’s Kyagulanyi did in 2020. You can simply use whatever name you wish in most countries. Ugandan law allows you to use any name you want, provided this is not done in the furtherance of some other criminal activity.

Outside Uganda, here in the UK, for example, the law allows you to call yourself whatever you like, and no official process is required. However, your circumstances will make a difference. A case in point, it is still a fairly common tradition for a wife to take a husband's surname on marriage. A copy of her marriage certificate (together with her other documents) will be sufficient to allow the Passport Office to issue her with a passport in her new name. However, if she simply decides to change her name from Amina Goodheart to Amina Badheart, while she has done nothing illegal, she may find that she faces problems with authorities who like a paper trail. In this case, a Deed Poll would be useful. This can be organised by any solicitor and there is or used to be a company called Deed Polls Online who will do the whole thing online for you. This is for the UK only, as the laws will vary from country to country, but I believe it’s the same process in Uganda.

Similarly, a registered political party in Uganda can change its name. The party leader along with the consent of the party’s highest decision-making body must write a letter to the Election Commission. They should mention the reason for change and the new name. If the EC finds that there is already a party with the same name, then EC won't give the permission to go ahead with the same name. In this case usually parties prefer to do some adjustments by adding a name in brackets along with the party name.

Several UK political parties have changed their names, too, over the years. For example, The Whig Party was one of the two main political parties in England during the 18th and 19th centuries, along with the Tories. The Whigs originated in the late 17th century as a faction of the English Parliament that opposed the absolutist policies of King James II. They were originally known as the "Country Party," but in 1678, they adopted the name "Whig" (a term originally used to describe Scottish rebels) to emphasize their opposition to the king.

The Liberal Party was founded in 1859 as a merger of the Whig Party and the Peelites, a group of Conservatives who supported free trade. The new party was initially known as the "Liberal Party" or the "Liberal-Labour Party" (to distinguish it from the Conservative Party), but it eventually dropped the "Labour" part of its name.

The Labour Party was founded in 1900 as a political party for the working class. It was initially known as the "Labour Representation Committee," but it changed its name to the "Labour Party" in 1906.

Political parties in the United States have changed their names and ideologies several times over the country's history. However, the changes were gradual, and there is no specific timeline for when the parties changed their names. The two major political parties in the United States today are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Democratic Party was founded in 1828 and was originally known as the Democratic-Republican Party. Over time, the party evolved and split into factions, with one faction becoming known as the Democratic Party in the 1830s. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an anti-slavery party and was initially known as the Whig Party. The party changed its name to the Republican Party in 1856.

People should also note that NUP didn’t emerge from the People Power Movement (PPM). NUP and PP are totally different things though a lot of people allied with PP joined NUP when Kyagulanyi became its new president. The PP was never a Kyagulanyi initiative as several people have tried to explain, but I have seen a lot of media outlets wrongly calling it his. Kyagulanyi was a newcomer to the PP but it’s amazing how he hijacked the movement and portrayed himself as its leader. PP is literally a product of the ‘TOJIKWATAKO’ movement that opposed the lifting of the presidential age limits.