Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Democratic Party (DP) has assumed the leadership of the Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), replacing Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC).
Democratic Party will be steering IPOD activities for the next six months. Top on its agenda will be the IPOD summit slated for May 15th, 2019. The summit is a meeting of leaders of political parties represented in IPOD.
The DP Secretary General, Gerald Siranda also assumed leadership of the IPOD council. The council brings together secretary generals and selected representatives of parties under the IPOD arrangement. The council does technical work.
IPOD which brings together political parties represented in parliament is funded by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).
DP President, Norbert Mao, speaking during the handover event held at Protea Hotel on Monday, said the schedule for the next summit is already written in all party presidents calendar. DP’s responsibility, he said will be to ensure that all IPOD members, including Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) attend the next summit.
FDC snubbed the first ever IPOD summit held in December last year, under the leadership of UPC. The FDC argued that they could not attend an event where President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the national chairperson of the ruling party attended as president of Uganda. FDC wanted Museveni to attend as an equal of other party presidents, without protocol and security details.
Mao lauded UPC for achieving nearly the impossible – bringing Museveni to the summit in December last year. “My leadership will be a continuity because I worked very closely with the outgoing chair of the summit (Jimmy Akena) to ensure that the chairman of NRM commits to the summit without delegating,” he said.
DP will also be working towards implementation of last year’s summit recommendation. The summit recommended IPOD council to deliberate upon an equitable formula for increasing and appropriation of public funds given to political parties through the Electoral Commission.
The summit further recommended council to look into the issue electoral reforms as political parties prepare for 2021 general elections. Electoral reforms have been demanded by opposition parties as a mean of leveling playing field. Gerald Siranda says they will continue pushing National Resistance Movement to accept electoral reforms.
The IPOD council, Siranda said will be meeting Prime Minister, Ruhanda Rugunda and top on the agenda will be pushing government to commit to electoral reforms as early as possible.
IPOD Executive Secretary who is also the Country Representative of Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Frank Rusa said DP’s leadership comes at a critical time when political parties are preparing for 2021 elections.
“My hope is that these organs realise that only by working together to achieve one common goal, which is ultimately, a fully functional and democratic Uganda. So there is a need to unite now, more than ever,” he said.