Kampala, Uganda — The ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party skipped the handover of the Interparty Organization for Democracy- IPOD leadership from the Democratic Party-DP to the Forum for Democratic Change- FDC party.
DP, which assumed the IPOD leadership on March 25th, 2019, handed over to FDC yesterday at Fairway hotel in Kampala. The function was witnessed by other IPOD members including Justice Forum-JEEMA and Uganda People's Congress- UPC.
However, NRM wasn't represented at the handover. The IPOD Executive Secretary, Frank Rusa, says NRM didn't communicate why they couldn't make despite being invited. However, he says that NRM has been a committed member and that its absence sends no negative signals.
The NRM party Spokesperson, Rogers Mulindwa told URN in a phone interview that they didn't receive a formal invite. He explained that contrary to usual practice, they only received a whatsapp message, which they thought could be followed up with a formal communication in vain. Mulindwa said they wouldn't have missed the handover because they always committed to IPOD activities.
He said they only learnt that the event was indeed taking place yesterday morning and couldn't do much. While handing over the IPOD leadership, the DP President General, Norbert, noted that the DP had been able to maintain the unity of IPOD and pushed for the realization of resolutions from the IPOD summit.
The summit resolved that regulations to the implementation of the Public Order Management Act-POMA be drafted and suggested electoral reforms. Mao says the regulations were drafted and submitted to the Internal Affairs Ministry. As for electoral reforms, Mao said that those tabled before parliament were a mockery.
He also observed that while there is progress in IPOD, the organisation still faces challenges including the rough behavior of NRM against opposition members.
The FDC president, Patrick Amuriat reiterated the party concern continued persecution of opposition members. FDC boycotted the previous two summits accusing NRM of using the law to suppress opposition party activities.
Amuriat says politics is about mobilization but they are not able to do so effectively because government uses laws like POMA to crack down on their activities. As the head of IPOD, Amuriat said FDC will ensure the organization's decisions are respected and that all parties have a level ground to operate.
Justice James Ogoola from the Elder's Forum of Uganda urged the members to make IPOD work because it stands for best conflict resolution mechanism, dialogue. Ogoola says while one would choose to strike, boycott, stage a coup or start a war to express discontent and resolve conflict, dialogue is the most supreme of all mechanism.
Haji Hussein Kyanjo, who represented the JEEMA president, Asumani Basalirwa urged members to avoid expressing their conflicts through media. He asked members to have in house mechanisms to solve grievances rather than lashing at each other in the media.
IPOD is a platform that brings together parties with representation in parliament including the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), UPC and Justice Forum (JEEMA) and is supported by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).
The IPOD leadership rotates among subscribing parties. Each term lasts six months. After FDC, JEEMA will take over the leadership.