By Max Patrick Ocaido
Democratic Party (DP) President Nobert Mao has hit at fellow opposition party- Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) for snubbing the 2nd Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD).
Mao, who is also the chairperson of IPOD asked FDC leadership to ‘style up’ and act with maturity if they are to set a pace that can out compete the stability of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ruling party headed by President Yoweri Museveni.
Party leaders from NRM, DP, JEEMA and UPC on Monday convened at Protea Hotel, Entebbe for the 2nd IPOD summit. The summit was however, delayed after President Museveni arrived very late prompting the summit to end at 11pm instead of the projected 5pm.
"We call upon our colleagues who have consistently denounced IPO Summit meetings simply because they feel that sitting in a meeting with President Museveni waters down their image as an opposition party to change their attitude," Mao said.
"Why would one be uncomfortable with partaking of a meal one has participated fully in preparing?"
Mao added that FDC leadership plays politics of pretense yet they are funded by the same IPOD.
"In addition, all IPOD members receive support towards institution building. Currently IPOD is running a three year support program where each of the five member Political Parties will benefit to a tune of about UGX 1billion shillings, including those absent here," Mao added.
"We are all capable of flexing our populist muscles by taking the disputes we have with the ruling party to the streets. But by doing so, we shall be putting the very future of peaceful co-existence and democratic stability in Uganda at stake. I believe that dialogue is the one thing we have not done enough of."
President Museveni in his speech welcomed the dialogue and wondered why FDC leadership has continued to snub the dialogue saying, “it is up to them.”
“Being in opposition doesn’t mean that you don’t work for your area/constituency. Work for the progress of your area. I was a young boy, about 19 years old when I started working. I can authoritatively speak about youth issues because I was once a youth leader. So, don’t waste time saying you’re opposition yet you’re doing nothing for your people. I am therefore glad to meet leaders of Democratic Party, UPC and Jeema. I don’t know why FDC doesn’t come, but that is up to them. Once we discuss issues, we can agree on a point of convergence and therefore move forward together,” Museveni said.
This is the second time FDC members have dodged the IPOD Summit. The first one was in November 2018 at Munyonyo.
Among the key recommendations discussed at the summit include; government increases funding from the current Shs10bn to Shs35bn in a Financial Year, candidates sponsored by Parties shall not be required to collect signatures from Electoral areas, a review of nomination fees be made for affordable & inclusive participation.