Today, we gather here for yet another important step in our liberation struggle.
When we started the People Power Movement about three years ago, we had lengthy discussions about whether or not to register a political party. Our analysis led us to the conclusion that it was both untimely and impractical to form a political party. In any case, we were alive to the fact that the regime would foil any attempt to register People Power as a political party.
Indeed, at the end of 2018, our legal team tried to reserve the name People Power, just in case we needed to formally register at some point. As expected, we found that this name had been reserved and flagged so that we could not register it.
Since then, we have continued to struggle as a political and social movement advocating for change. Therefore, while we believe so much in multi-party democracy, we knew that the present circumstances have been largely restrictive of political parties. You have all observed the challenges encountered by parties such as the FDC. Our view then was that we should maintain the People Power Movement as the glue that brings all people together, regardless of their political affiliations.
As you all know, our message has been Mission 2021. Right from 2018, we have been telling all of you to ready yourselves for the 2021 election, because we believe that together, we can and must use that election to overwhelm and remove the dictatorship.
However, for weeks and months, there is one question which everyone has been asking us. What symbol shall we use in this election? A few weeks back when we announced the call for expression of interest, over 10,000 people responded so that they run under our platform. Every day, we have been receiving countless calls about one thing- what is the symbol? Expectedly, all our people would want to have a uniform symbol for liberation. They know that if they go into this election as independents, the regime will ensure that the symbol which I have is not available to any other of our candidates.
Therefore we must act, and act now. And today, we are very happy to announce the answer to this question.
As Mandela taught us, “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.” Having realised that the People Power Movement itself would never be registered by the Museveni regime, it became very urgent and expedient to find a solution.
And so, a few months back, when we predicted that we would find ourselves in this situation, we embarked on finding a solution. We set out to silently identify a Platform which we would use to answer this question. Although many political parties and organisations had reached out to us, our first and most important criteria was to look out for a formation which shares our values, aims and objectives. And there are many which do, but there was a political organisation whose message and objectives rhymed well with those very close to us. In order to make the message even stronger, in July 2019, we went ahead and successfully changed the name of this political organisation from National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party to the National Unity Platform.
Therefore, today we stand here to announce to the nation that we are unveiling the National Unity Platform as the political wing of the People Power Movement. The National Unity Platform is a political organisation duly registered with the Electoral Commission and our symbol is an umbrella.
This symbol is definitely one of the things that attracted us to this political organisation because like we have said over and over again, we believe in national unity. We believe in having a platform that will bring in all oppressed Ugandans, and that is why we are launching the National Unity Platform whose symbol is an umbrella.
Finally, we know there are those who may ask themselves where this leaves comrades and fellow leaders who belong to other registered political organisations. Friends, we are People Power. In the coming days, we shall embark on the process of formalising the People Power Alliance. The People Power Alliance shall be comprised of different political formations which we have been working with and those that will be willing to join us. Formal engagements with many of these brothers and sisters have already been ongoing and they will continue.
Finally, let us reiterate that what we are launching today is largely a symbol and a political platform that will usher us into the 2021 election. Akabobero umbrella. But we shall continue to do activities as the People Power Movement. Friends, this is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, liberation strugglists have often found themselves having to run their course with a political wing and an activist or military wing. The ANC is a political party in South Africa, but circumstances demanded that they form an armed wing called uMkhonto we Sizwe. The examples are so many.
In our case, we have consistently said that we are a non-violent movement and we have no plans of establishing a military wing. What we are doing today is to launch a political wing of our Movement so as to ensure that our mission to use the election as a strategy within the liberation struggle succeeds.
To our candidates who have already picked and filled the expression of interest forms, the Election Management Committee will be reaching out to you with other details and guidelines.
We thank you and may God bless you. People Power- Our power