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IPOD summit set for Friday, FDC not attending

Some of the members of the IPOD Council and other NRM party leaders.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Heads of Political Parties organized under the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue-IPOD are set to conduct their 3rd Summit on March 5th at the Kololo Independence ground. IPOD brings together parties with representation in Parliament to dialogue on issues affecting the country and political players in the country.   

Currently, the members are drawn from the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM, Democratic Party-DP, and Forum for Democratic Change-FDC, Justice Forum-JEEMA and Uganda People’s Congress-UPC. 

The IPOD Council, which comprises Secretary-Generals of IPOD member parties, sat on February 23rd 2021 under the leadership of the NRM Secretary-General Justine Kasule Lumumba and resolved to convene a summit under the theme “Dialogue for National Cohesion”. 

President Yoweri Museveni, who is the Chairman of the NRM, being the party currently at the helm of the IPOD shall chair the summit.  Lumumba says the Summit shall discuss the events witnessed in the just concluded elections such as violence, hate speech and sectarian talk among others. 

The resolution from the previous summits includes increasing government funds given to Political Parties from Shillings 10 billion to 35 billion. The resolution was partially implemented last year when Parties were given Shillings 30 billion. However, members are still challenging the numerical strength formula used to share money. 

The Formula earns NRM the majority share since it has more MPs in Parliament. Members propose that at least 60 percent of the money be shared equally and 40 percentages based on numerical strength. The Summit previously proposed regulations for Implementation of the Public Order Management Act- POMA. They sought a clear definition of the term authorised officer as referred to in section 3 of POMA.

The section talks about notifying the Inspector General of Police IGP or an authorised offer before holding a public meeting. They also proposed that the government decentralizes the function of the Inspector General of Police under the Act such that organisers of an even don’t have to travel to Kampala to notify the IGP. 

They sought clarification of the rank or level of police officer authorised to receive the notification. The regulations are yet to be tabled and passed by parliament. Lumumba further revealed that the Summit shall discuss the admission of other parties who won seats in the next parliament. 

The National Unity Platform-NUP shall be a new party in Parliament and a dominant opposition party. If admitted, the NUP shall be the next leader of IPOD upon the elapse of NRM’s six months tenure on May 22nd 2021. The leadership of IPOD is rotational and follows the alphabetical order. Lumumba says since the current Memorandum of Understanding- MoU is between the current five members, the summit shall take a decision on expanding membership.

Other IPOD members, the UPC, JEEMA and UPC have committed to take part in the summit. The Secretary-General of DP, Gerald Blacks Siranda says DP embraces dialogue as a way to iron out grievances and seek solutions to the challenges in the country.   

UPC’s Fred Ebil and JEEMA’s Muhammad Kateregga committed their parties’ participation in the upcoming summit for dialogue. However, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC shall not attend the summit just like it was in 2018 and 2019. Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the party Spokesperson says they cannot be seen to sit with a person jailing and torturing Ugandans. 

FDC wants the President to set free Ugandans jailed innocently and stop horrendous acts against the citizenry.  Lumumba says the IPOD can’t compel the FDC to attend the Summit although their voices could be important.

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