Uganda’s biggest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has boycotted the Inter party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
IPOD brings together political parties represented in parliament. The conference hopes to secure the commitment of the top leaders to constructive and inclusive dialogue.
President Yoweri Museveni who is also the ruling NRM chairman, DP’s Norbert Mao, Jimmy Akena of UPC, and JEEMA’s Asuman Basalirwa attended the conference.
Last weekend, the IPOD presidents were asked to commit to serious dialogue during Wednesday’s meeting.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the largest opposition party pulled out of the summit last week, backtracking on a commitment they had made to be part of the dialogue.
The summit discussion is centred on four thematic areas; 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.
The summit agenda was proposed and adopted by IPOD council which brings together secretary generals of parties represented in parliament. IPOD is hosted and funded by Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy -NIMD.
Frank Rusa, the NIMD country representative and IPOD executive secretary, says that party Presidents will agree and adopt “a minimum agenda” that will steer continuous engagements thereafter.
The party presidents will send the agenda back to the IPOD council for party secretary generals to discuss the essentials. Rusa says by mid next year, there should be a comprehensive position and resolutions reached by the council which will be taken back to the leaders for adoption.
Rusa says the party leaders are expected to discuss the four issues lined up on the agenda and give guidance for further discussions.
Though FDC withdrew from the summit, Rusa says the party is committed to dialogue under the IPOD auspices. He says other parties will highlight issues that FDC has been pointing out over the years.
Rusa says FDC did not disassociate itself from the summit agenda. “FDC signed to the agenda at the retreat. It had a representation of their secretary general and vice president for Eastern Uganda, Salamu Musumba and they signed onto the four issues that they would like to be discussed. They have not disassociated themselves from this agenda,” he says.