Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party will take over the leadership of the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue- IPOD on Wednesday this week.
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. The term of DP, which has been leading the dialogue expired on September 25th, 2019. However, DP declined to hand it over to FDC, saying Uganda’s biggest opposition party hadn’t been committed to IPOD, which made it doubtful if it could take over its leadership.
DP demanded that FDC commits in writing to take on IPOD leadership, something FDC rejected saying it wasn’t a condition in the IPOD MoU. FDC was particularly accused being intolerant and skipping IPOD summits. FDC missed the summit in December last year and May this year.
FDC refused to be a part of a meeting to which, the ruling NRM was party because of its continued crack down on opposition events using under the guise of enforcing the Public Order Management Act 2013.
Last week, DP wrote to the IPOD Executive Secretary. Frank Rusa indicating that they would hand over to FDC. In the letter, DP President General, Norbert Mao said he had met with the FDC National Chairman, Wassawa Biriggwa and would meet the FDC President, Patrick Amuriat to discuss the hand over.
The meeting didn’t happen. According to the DP Secretary General, Gerald Black Siranda, DP had sufficient discussions with the FDC Chairman Biriggwa and that the president of FDC had communicated via email.
“They have been showing that they are committed so we are waiting and we are willing to support them after the handover” he said. Now, the Deputy FDC Spokesperson, John Kikonyogo, says they are ready to take over the IPOD leadership, saying the key issue they will be looking is handling the transition of power from the NRM government to another. He says FDC will effect the MoU that binds IPOD members.
As FDC takes over power, Kikonyogo says they expect that the NRM party chairman, President Yoweri Museveni takes serious decisions to the IPOD summits and respects its membership.
Kikonyogo further dismissed allegations that their refusal to be part of the summit was a sign of intolerance towards the NRM. He says they are intolerant to the atrocities committed by the NRM undermining discussions in IPOD. He says if they were intolerant they wouldn’t be participating in council sittings.