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Museveni meets opposition leaders ahead of national dialogue

President Yoweri Museveni held a meeting with a delegation of members of the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) at State House Entebbe, led by the Chairperson of the organization, Mr. Fred Ebil.(PPU PHOTO)

KAMPALA – President Museveni has urged leaders of the opposition political parties in the country, together with their supporters, to work with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government to eradicate electoral violence and the monetization of politics to give democracy and stability a chance to flourish in Uganda.

“These are very serious matters. If you want democracy and stability, you should not tolerate this electoral violence and money,” he said.

The President made the remarks at a meeting with a delegation of members of the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) at State House Entebbe, led by the Chairperson of the organization, Mr. Fred Ebil, on Sunday.

Other members included Eddy Fred Kasajja of Justice Forum (JEMA); Hadijja Babirye Kizito who is the Chairperson of JEMA Women’s League; the Secretary-General of NRM, Justine Kasule Lumumba and her Deputy, Richard Todwong, James Tuhairwe an NRM representative on the IPOD Council and Lawrence Okae, the National Chairperson of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).

Others were the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa and Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
An apology was received from Salaam Musumba of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) who was not able to attend the Entebbe meeting because of other engagements.

The Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue was set up in 2010 to bring together leaders of all political shades in the country to foster a strong and vibrant multiparty democracy in Uganda based on peaceful co-existence of all citizens to work harmoniously.

The IPOD leaders, including FDC’s Proscovia Salaam Musumba, had prior to the meeting with the President, held another meeting with the NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba at the NRM Party Headquarters in Kampala, after which they addressed a joint press conference.

President Museveni, who had a candid interface with leaders of the opposition political parties, was responding to some of the concerns raised that included, among others, electoral violence, monetization of politics in the country and the issue of independents (Political leaders nor affiliated to any party).

On electoral violence, President Museveni described it as ‘a big shame’ adding that it was one of the main causes of the crisis in the country after independence. He stressed that the vice must not be tolerated.

“I was working on stopping electoral violence myself. But if I get support we shall eradicate it,” he stressed.

Commenting on the monetisation of politics, the President observed that the use of money was a very dangerous practice that can disenfranchise the electorate and make voters shun elections.

“If you can bring money and you are elected because of money not because of your performance, that means the people have no power to punish you. The vote should be to punish or to reward you for doing well,” he observed.

Regarding the issue of ‘Independents’ and Party discipline, President Museveni concurred with members of IPOD that a mechanism should be formulated to enable political parties control their members, especially those who lose in the primaries.

The delegation was very delighted to learn from President Museveni and National Chairman of NRM that he was ready to attend IPOD meetings that will be organized twice annually.

They were equally happy to note that the President gave green light for the IPOD summit to take place in Kampala on 12th December 2018 at which all leaders of the opposition political Parties are expected to attend. Some of the invited guests include former President of Tanzania, Mr. Benjamin William Mkapa.

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