KAMPALA – The opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have expressed pessimism about police observing the guidelines while implementing the Public Order Management Act (POMA) as directed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
On Wednesday, Dr Rugunda said, after a meeting of the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), they agreed that police stop imposing their own guidelines while implementing POMA and allow opposition parties to hold the rallies peacefully.
But FDC, whose rallies have been severally blocked by police, say they doubt if police will listen to the premier’s directive.
“We had a meeting with the Prime Minister and the agreement was that police under Kayihura was misinterpreting POMA. I don’t know what they are going to say that they haven’t said before, said Mr. Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the FDC spokesman.
On Monday, FDC announced that they were pulling out of IPOD over the continued harassment by police who have continued to block their rallies. And on Thursday, Mr. Semujju said whereas they are open to dialogue, their patience has been tested.
“We (FDC) don’t want IPOD to be turned into socialization club. It was formed for a purpose and if it hasn’t met its purpose in 10 years, why should it continue. This country is held captive by Mr. Museveni but as FDC we are going to give everything a chance even without our participation,” he said while appearing on NBS TV.
“We in the party (FDC) can only collect views from FDC leaders and members but we can’t meet them, even a small meeting in a home is being teargassed. Give me one example of a meeting where Museveni has sat down with people and things have worked, even meeting him (Museveni) is frustrating,” he added.
Dr Rugunda’s Wednesday directive to police came after an IPOD meeting, which FDC boycotted.
However, Mr. Frank Rusa, the Executive Secretary of IPOD and country representative of Netherland Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), insists that they consider FDC an important member of the group.
“I wish Ugandans who are on the streets fighting each other could see that these politicians can work together. FDC is a very important player in IPOD because it is the biggest opposition political party in Uganda. It would be a big problem if FDC said they won’t dialogue. We are going to invest time and resources to make sure the event (IPOD Summit) happens. Why doesn’t FDC come to the summit and make their issues known? This is a missed opportunity for them,” he said.
On Wednesday, police yet again FDC leaders from holding a consultative meeting in Kalangala District. Police blocked Party President Patrick Oboi Amuriat, National Mobiliser Ingrid Turinawe, National Youth leader Mulindwa Walid Lubega, Makindye district Chairman Kizito Livingstone and a host of leaders on their way to Kalangala where they were headed for a leaders mobilization meeting and rally.