Uganda Peoples Congress
Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
Inter Party Dialogue
04 August 2006
FUTURE OF INTER-PARTY DIALOGUE LIES WITH GOVERNMENT
- The decision by the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) to accept the invitation from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to attend an inter-party dialogue last Friday, July 28, 2006, was taken after a lengthy and careful consideration. In particular the following facts, among others were taken into account:
- Constitutionally and legally, although not legitimately, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is currently the President of the Republic of Uganda . This is a fact and reality that cannot be wished away.Therefore; courtesy demands that if for any reason the President invites any law-abiding citizen, that person should positively respond unless he/she has good reasons to do otherwise.
- As Ugandans, we have always failed at every turn of events to seize opportunity to place our country on the path of democracy, stability, development and prosperity. The UPC believes that a new beginning should be made.
- Experience indicated to the UPC that it would not be possible to engage in talks over critical issues affecting our country on that first day. It normally takes days, weeks or even months to prepare such talks.
- The UPC was confident and fully aware that merely meeting the President would not automatically make any change to it's position on some of the critical problems affecting the country.
- The meeting was attended by,the President General of the Democratic Party (DP). Ssebana Kizito; the Party President, Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), Mama Miria Kalule Obote; Abed Bwanika (Independent) and the host, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Chairman, National Resistance Movement Organization (NRMO) on the date aforementioned. Each of these four leaders was accompanied by three of their party/organization officials. The proceedings of the meeting have been fairly/widely covered by the media, both print and electronic.
- On the whole, the meeting was cordial and tension free; at least there was no banging of the table. However, the meeting started about two hours beyond the scheduled time. This is something that has become normal under the NRM administration, especially when the President is involved.
- The meeting provided the Party an opportunity to present to the President face to face the pertinent issues affecting the people of our country, Uganda. The Party had over the years addressed these issues at its press conference and, in an open letter to the President himself, but without getting any response.
- In its memorandum, the UPC laid emphasis on the need for follow up meetings; peace and security with special reference to the on-going Juba peace process; the management of the economy and natural resources; truth, reconciliation and justice; and the need for a national conference.
- The forthcoming LCI and II elections was raised as a matter of national importance and urgency. The three invited political leaders and their delegations expressed very strong views on this subject, giving the following reasons:-
- The four (4) days given by Electoral Commission (EC) to register voters were inadequate;
- There was no civic education at all; and
- Reports received from most parts of the country indicated that voters registration was done secretly, discriminately and in some cases at night.
- On hearing that Deputy President General of the DP, Mrs. Raina Kafire, was refused registration as a voter in these elections in her home village of Kadoto, in Budaka District, the President directed that a combined team of officials from NRM and Mrs. Kafiire make a surprise visit to Kadoto village the following day, Saturday, July 29. President Museveni went on to say that if the above allegation were found true, then elections would be postponed. He also directed the EC be summoned to appear in State House on Monday July 31, to give an explanation. The UPC is anxiously waiting to hear from State House.
- The issue of the Scotland Yard Report on the assassination of Dr. Lutakome Kayira was also raised. Again the invitees expressed very strong concerns on this. The President directed the Secretary General of the NRMO,
- The meeting agreed to:
- Immediately set up an inter-party committee to amalgamate and harmonize all the memoranda presented plus the President's address to the meeting into one working document;
- Include all the political parties with representation in Parliament, each party being represented by two people;
- Invite Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Conservative Party (CP) and JEEMA to immediately submit their memoranda and the names of their nominees for the inter-party committee; and
- Rotate the chair of the inter-party committee among the member Political parties.
- The Secretary General of the NRMO was charged with the responsibility to solicit names of the nominees from political parties/organizations, ask those parties which did not attend the first meeting to submit their memoranda expeditiously and convene the first meeting of the committee. To date UPC is not aware that any further move has been taken by the NRMO.
- A Draft Political Parties and Organizations (Code of Conduct) Regulations 2006 prepared by NRMO under Clause 19 (1) of the Political Parties and Organization Act 2005, attached to the President's address was referred to the proposed inter-party committee without discussion.
- The UPC has noted with deep regret some views emanating from some political circles that President Museveni has set the pace and the political parties should finish the race. Nothing could be furthar from the truth as the foregoing paragraphs show. UPC deliberately decided to call the bluff, attended and participated in the meeting. The party was motivated by its commitment to peaceful methods of resolution of differences and conflicts.
- UPC wishes to assure all its supporters and well wishers country wide that it will not be taken for a ride. At an appropriate time, the party will evaluate the just-started inter-party dialogue and accordingly take an appropriate decision. The risk belongs to the Government not UPC or any other political party/organization.
For God and my Country
Hon. John Livingstone Okello-Okello (MP)