Eleven MPs, who previously subscribed to the Democratic Party (DP) have today announced their departure to join the National Unity Platform, a new party headed by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Those who have crossed today include Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona, Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja, Bukomansimbi Woman MP Veronica Nanyondo, Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo, Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi, Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga, Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Makindye Ssaabagabo MP Ssempala Emmanuel Kigozi and Makindye West MP Allan Ssewayana.
Their crossing brings to 17, the number of MPs that the party has so far fished in less than one month of its rejuvenation. The others are Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kasanda South) John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), David Kalwanga (Busujju) and Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North).
DP, led by Nobert Mao, is now left with five MPs in the current parliament. They include Luttamaguzi Ssemakula (Nakaseke South), Deogratias Kiyingi (Bukomansimbi), Mary Babirye Kabanda (Masaka) Lyandro Komakech (Gulu Municipality) and Okot Peter (Kochi County).
Speaking at the unveiling of the new members, Kyagulanyi said this was a dream come true for him. Kyagulanyi who was recently unveiled as the president of NUP, said the defection of prominent legislators has given him and his party impetus to continue fighting President Yoweri Museveni and bring the much-needed change in Uganda.
"Today ladies and gentlemen, it gives me so much pleasure to see that the struggle is getting more real. To see that our freedom is becoming more realistically seen in the future. Today ladies and gentlemen, it gives me so much honour and pleasure to receive the imminent leaders that are joining the National Unity Platform. For many, some leaders joining the National Unity Platform does not come as a surprise and indeed as I will communicate further, you will notice that we have been working very closely with these comrades. We started the People Power movement and we were moving informally because this struggle is not bent on formality." said Kyagulanyi.
According to the 2015 constitutional amendment, an MP is free to change his or her political party in the last year to the end of their term. However, according to speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the change in allegiance will only take effect in the next parliament.
“If someone comes to parliament as an FDC member, he will continue to be FDC until the end of the term because it’s FDC that sponsored them. The law only allowed them to change for the next cycle of elections,” Kadaga said.
It’s not only DP that has suffered defections in recent days. Even the biggest opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has had two of its members switch sides to join Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). These include Winnie Kiiza, the outgoing Kasese Woman MP and Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru.
Others who have crossed to NUP today include Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante, Wakiso district chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika, DP spokesperson, Kenneth Paul Kakande, former Luweero Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya, DP chief mobilizer Jose Chameleon, Abdallah Kiwanuka,
The former Mukono North MP aspirant, and former Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke Sseninde. The others are former presidential candidates Dr Abed Bwanika, and Samuel Lubega Mukaku.
Mao says the departures were expected since the defectors' actions in the past months demonstrated that they were not aligned to their party anymore.