The Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao has called for tolerance among political parties if Uganda is to achieve a fully-fledged multi-party democracy.
Mao made the appeal on Monday as he took over the chairmanship of the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) summit. He assumed the position from Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) president Jimmy Akena whose tenure is ending this month.
The IPOD leadership is rotational;-It changes every after six months and Mao’s leadership is expected to run from April to September 2019.
During a handover ceremony held in Kampala, the DP stalwart said it’s a role of IPOD to ensure that every political party amicably defends its interests without unfair limitations.
“We are different political parties with different beliefs but by the end of it all, we all take part in the electoral process and this does not mean we become enemies. We should use IPOD to share good practice,” he said.
Mao also pledged to play his part towards uniting all political factions in the country as long as they are willing to work with him.
“It is going to be more of continuity because I have worked with the outgoing chair who has achieved almost the impossible.
“Leadership does not only depend on ability but also chemistry-You tend to agree more with the people you like and disagree more with the people you dislike so I call upon all of you to work with me so that the chemistry grows,” he requested.
As the chairman, Mao will also steer the upcoming IPOD summit that is scheduled to take place on May 15, 2019.
IPOD Executive Secretary Frank Rusa said Mao’s leadership comes at a critical point in Uganda considering that some political parties have already declared candidates for the 2021 polls, thus calling out for the need to work together more than ever in the political space ahead of the elections.
“My hope is that these organs realise that only by working together to achieve one common goal, which is ultimately a fully functional and democratic Uganda will the country move forward. So, there is a need to unite, now more than ever,” said Rusa.
Akena urged Mao and DP as a whole to consolidate the success of the outgoing leadership but not to dwell on its failures.
He also urged the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) to cooperate with the opposition political parties by providing a fair ground for them to execute their roles.
On the other hand, DP Secretary General Gerald Siranda Blacks replaced UPC National Chairperson Lawrence Okae as IPOD Council Chairman.
An IPOD Summit comprises of member political parties’ presidents whereas IPOD council is made up of member political parties’ Secretary Generals with other three members from each party.
Currently, the dialogue has five member parties that include DP, NRM, UPC, Justice Forum (Jeema) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
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