The Democratic Party has reversed its earlier position and confirmed participation at the upcoming Inter-Party Organization on Dialogue Summit slated for Tuesday at a resort in the outskirts of Kampala.
The Democratic Party Secretary General, Dr. Gerald Siranda Blacks confirmed the development to ChimpReports on Sunday morning.
“Democratic Party as the signatory of IPOD MOU is going to attend the Summit,” said Dr. Siranda.
He explained that the ground has been leveled for the Summit since it is going to be convened in a neutral venue not State House.
“We demanded that the Summit should not take place at State House, City House (DP headquarters), Uganda House (UPC headquarters) or Najjanakumbi (FDC) headquarters. We wanted a neutral place and now that we have it, the Summit will happen,” added Dr. Siranda.
The DP boss noted that though they have reservations, a boycott would present an opportunity for National Resistance Movement Chairman, President Yoweri Museveni to ridicule the opposition.
“Every time we run away from confronting Museveni he takes a credit. The NRM will walk around and tell the world that the opposition is not interested in dialogue,” noted DP SG.
The DP Spokesman, Kenneth Kakande told journalists at a weekly press briefing on Tuesday that his party had pulled out of the Summit.
“As DP, we are not comfortable at all to sit with the ruling party NRM to discuss anything to do with the way forward for this country, they do not have faith, instead they care about their stay in power,” said Kakande.
Adding that: “We state that as DP, in principle, we believe in meaningful dialogue but we cannot participate in a dialogue where its outcome are pre-conceived as window dressing.”
Of the five parties represented in Parliament, only FDC has stuck to its guns of not taking part in the function.
In a letter to IPOD, FDC said they would not participate in the deliberations, saying there is “inadequate time for us to discuss and agree on the thematic areas to define the agenda for the period of 2019-2021” before the meeting of December 12, 2018.
FDC said these areas include “enacting constitutional and electoral reforms which were discussed and agreed upon in the Uganda Citizens’ Compact on Free and Fair Elections but have since not been implemented by the ruling NRM government.”
The party further said it was “troubled by the current hostile political environment across the country especially towards us, which does not offer a conducive environment for FDC to actively participate in the Summit.”
JEEMA to attend
Nevertheless, opposition party, JEEMA has since expressed its desire to participate in the event.
“I wish to state that all Member Parties agreed to hold the Summit with the top most leadership of NRM under their Chairman Yoweri Museveni, (not as Head of State) because some members did not feel comfortable with it based on the outcomes of the 2016 Presidential elections,” said JEEMA Secretary General, Muhamad Kateregga in a statement earlier this week.
He said Inter Party arrangements have never been easy, even amongst fellow opposition parties.
“But this is a process worth investing in, given the tremendous impact a similar process had on Ghana’s transition to democracy. It is Ghana that served as the model for IPOD. We wish to call upon our colleagues to urgently bring back all the issues to the IPOD Council so that we agree the next course of action, instead of appearing to be acting in a disjointed manner. The electorate we claim to represent through our parties are watching our every step,” said Kateregga.
The appearance of all major opposition parties at the event could leave FDC isolated and its hardliner position subject to public criticism especially among the moderates.
FDC recently lost is founder member and former party president Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu who accused the current leadership of cultivating ground for radicalism and alienating moderates in the political organization.
Several supporters of Muntu have since been removed from influential positions in the top positions of the party.
JEEMA said in a statement that as a party it does not “fear negotiation, but never negotiates out of fear. We believe that there is no subject too difficult to discuss. That is what separates ordinarily politicians from Statesmen and Women.”