Opposition parties threaten to quit IPOD

Opposition political parties have threatened to quit Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) blaming the ruling party (NRM) of deteriorating the objectives of the organisation.

IPOD is facilitated by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and was set up to offer space for dialogue and exchange of ideas among political parties in the country with a view of improving electoral democracy.

Currently, it consists of four parties which include; Democratic Party, Forum for Democratic Change, Uganda People’s Congress and National Resistance Movement.

Addressing media at their weekly press conference in Kampala yesterday, DP press secretary Fred Mwesigwa said that for some years they have been part of IPOD, the current leadership of NRM is becoming hostile to other member parties.

“We have plans to meet other opposition parties on the same issue and if NRM does not change their method of work, we are pulling out of IPOD,” Mr Mwesigwa said.

He mentioned the issues of article 102b (Presidential age limit) which was supposed to be discussed in IPOD first, but the NRM never called for any meeting during that time.

“The aim of IPOD is to discuss political issues maturely and reasonably without violence even if we agree or disagree, but since NRM is in power they are so proud,” Mr Mwegigwa said.

FDC spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said that they are very disappointed in the way IPOD is operating.

“We expected to discuss the values of IPOD through democracy ideas and code of conduct to achieve political objectives when we sit together, but all in vain,” Mr Semujju said.

He added that as FDC, they have many question than answers and NRM never considered opposition parties as it is stated in Memorandum of Understanding.

“To one extent, we excused ourselves from IPOD because we wanted them to sort themselves mainly on the issue of leaving JEEMA and CP out yet they were among the founders,” Mr Semujju said.

He added that there first activity as IPOD was to agree on the number of political reforms in 2015 and their proposals were presented to the speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, but nothing was done.

“We had proposed that instead of quarrelling in public, we sit as IPOD and come to a conclusion of main issues, but even this has not worked out,” Mr Ssemujju said.

UPC spokesperson, Micheal Osinde, said that many issues are pending to be discussed by the members and the current chairman, President Yoweri Museveni, has taken long without attending the summit.

“Being that NRM is in charge it would have been easy for them to convince their chairman to attend one of the summits, because we discuss many issues which remain in the pipeline awaiting the final decision from the chairman,” Mr Osinde said.

He added that they have many issues to discuss about which include; political reforms that were presented before the speaker, and age limit .

“At village level things are different from what was presented by MPs. Most of them voted yes but on ground it’s tough. However it is not good to lose that chance of meeting as one organization and we either agree or disagree,” Mr Osinde said.

In 2016, FDC announced it had opted out of IPOD because of the pending reforms in the organisation that bring political parties in the parliament together.

FDC wanted to reconstitute IPOD, give themselves leadership and define their roles, claiming that there was no IPOD since there was no MoU.

Mr Ssemujju said if IPOD maintains that it is an organisation for parties represented in parliament, then the parties in the 10th Parliament will have to sign a new memorandum which excludes the Conservative Party (CP) and Justice Forum (JEEMA).

Currently, both CP and JEEMA are not represented in the 10th Parliament, their candidates having lost in the February 18 polls.

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