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IPOD Summit: Museveni sits on Amuriat’s empty chair

Museveni talks at IPOD summit. PHOTO PPU

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President, Yoweri Museveni briefly sat in the empty seat reserved for the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party President, Patrick Oboi Amuriat at the ongoing Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) summit at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.

Uganda’s largest opposition party snubbed the first historic IPOD summit backtracking on an earlier commitment to attend the summit.

The National Resistance Movement-NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba slammed FDC for sidestepping an important opportunity to dialogue with Museveni.

Lumumba joked that since Museveni is the head of state, he can also represent FDC in spirit at the summit. It’s at this moment that Museveni moved briefly from his chair to Amuriat’s empty seat, triggering ululations and applause.

Lumumba said the FDC Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi was the first person to call for summit during the IPOD council meetings, but the party chickened out at the last moment.

By sitting on FDC’s chair, Lumumba argued that president Museveni occupied a vacuum that FDC created. She argued that whenever a vacuum is created, someone will always occupy it.

Lumumba argued that this was the only opportunity that FDC had to directly raise their issues to Museveni in front of hundreds of Ugandans.

UPC President Jimmy Akena, who is chairing the summit, said it is an opportunity to start the process of serious dialogue. He said even if he had been invited for tea or photo oops without serious agenda, he would come.

Akena said although FDC snubbed the summit, the party is still in IPOD and will be briefed on the outcomes of the meeting.

Today’s discussion is focused on four thematic areas including strengthening political parties to enhance their relevance and effectiveness, consolidation of constitutional and electoral reforms, promotion of inclusiveness in national politics especially in relation to the role of youth and women in politics and strengthening democratic governance, human rights and observance of rule of law.

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