Top leaders of the Justice Forum (JEEMA) party declined to attend a meeting with the National Unity Platform party president, Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu.
In his effort to reach out to other opposition parties to agree on a way forward after losing the January 14 presidential election to Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Kyagulanyi was at the JEEMA offices in Mengo on Thursday to meet with the top party leaders.
However to his disappointment, Kateregga Muhammad, the secretary-general was the only high ranking official present. Asuman Basalirwa, the party president and Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja, the party chairman all made no show.
A source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the party leadership is angry with Kyagulanyi for using the party when it suited him and then dumped it.
“There is nothing for us to talk about with him, we worked closely with him and when the time for elections came, he fielded candidates everywhere where we had a candidate. What kind of partner is that? He wants to work with us when there is nothing at stake. Surely we were not in any mood to welcome him,” the source said.
When contacted on the phone about why he didn’t attend the meeting, Basalirwa said he had a case in the constitutional court that dragged on more than he expected. “I’m just held up at court but if I finish on time, I will be joining. I have asked our secretary-general to be carrying on with the meeting and I think I will join them later,” Basalirwa said while the meeting was in progress.
But by the time the meeting that started at about 2:15 pm ended at about 4:20 pm, he had not shown up.
When asked why Basalirwa had not attended the meeting, Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesperson of NUP corroborated Basalirwa statements.
Early this week, the Forum for Democratic Change party also turned down Kyagulanyi’s request for a meeting arguing that it has no clear agenda. Last week, another meeting with Alliance for National Transformation also failed to take place over what Ssenyonyi called earlier scheduled engagements.
For today’s meeting, Ssenyonyi said it aimed to check on comrades they have been together within the struggle to end President Museveni’s reign. He said now that the election is over, they need to sit together to chart a way forward.
Siraje Kifampa Nsambu, Jeema Kampala district chairman said NUP paying them a courtesy call shouldn’t be surprising to anyone because of their history of working together.