The Democratic Party (DP) has warned other opposition players that they cannot just leave the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (Ipod).
DP, which now leads Ipod, says that each member party signed a Memorandum of Understanding with several clauses that need to be reviewed in case a member wants out. However, the Forum for Democratic Change, which has threatened to quit the Ipod has not fulfilled any.
Ipod is an umbrella body of political parties that are represented in Parliament. It was founded in 2010 with the help of development partners to dialogue on different issues of national importance.
During the time of its formation, only five political parties qualified to join. These were; National Resistance Movement (NRM), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), Justice Forum (Jeema), FDC and DP. All of them signed MOUs that bonded them to work together regardless of their political differences.
One of the clauses of exit is if a member party fails to get even a single member to represent it in Parliament. This happened to Jeema in 2016 parliamentary elections after it failed to win any constituency. The party’s lone MP, Hussein Kyanjo of Makindye West retired in 2016.
However, it bounced back after Jeema president Asuman Basalirwa won the Bugiri municipality Parliamentary by-election.
DP Secretary General Gerald Siranda told Watchdog Uganda on Friday that FDC’s suggestion to exit is a bigger process than just holding a press conference.
“FDC is a very important member in Ipod and I would not love to see them going out. However, getting out is more than what we have seen them doing. That is why we, including Museveni, signed such MoUs. So I think they have to rethink on their move,” said Siranda.
However, Siranda said that points on which FDC based its arguments to want out are right but they should not tire because dialoguing puts pressure on NRM.
“This would be poor timing for FDC. We had a meeting with the Prime Minister this week and I hope they could change their mind,” he added.
Salaamu Musumba vice chairperson FDC eastern region told watchdog Uganda on Wednesday that her party had already made a decision and they ought not to change. “We will not attend any Ipod summit until we see a change in the way NRM treats us. We thought that our refusal in the first summit last year will compel them to change but nothing, so we cannot waste time.”
Ipod Executive Secretary and country representative of Netherland Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) Frank Rusa alludes that Ipod still considers FDC an important member party that is needed in every process of dialogue.
“FDC is a very important player in Ipod because it is the biggest opposition political party in Uganda. So it would be a big problem if they shun dialoguing. This the best time for FDC to make their issues known through dialogues but want to miss it.”