ENTEBBE – The Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) summit sat on Monday in Entebbe. IPOD is an umbrella organisation of political parties that have representation in Parliament. They are basically five: NRM, FDC, UPC, DP and JEEMA. FDC, as expected boycotted the meeting for the second time in six months.
Below are some of the quotes from leaders at the summit.
Norbert Mao: “We call upon our colleagues who have consistently denounced IPO Summit meetings simply because they feel that sitting in a meeting with President Museveni waters down their image as an opposition party to change their attitude….”
Norbert Mao: “Why would one be uncomfortable with partaking of a meal one has participated fully in preparing? In addition, all IPOD members receive support towards institution building. Currently, IPOD is running a three-year support program where each of the five-member Political Parties will benefit to a tune of about UGX 1billion shillings, including those absent here.
Mao: “We are all capable of flexing our populist muscles by taking the disputes we have with the ruling party to the streets. But by doing so, we shall be putting the very future of peaceful co-existence and democratic stability in Uganda at stake. I believe that dialogue is the one thing we have not done enough of”.
President Museveni: “Being in opposition doesn’t mean that you don’t work for your area/constituency. Work for the progress of your area. I was a young boy, about 19 years old when I started working. I can authoritatively speak about youth issues because I was once a youth leader. So, don’t waste time saying you’re opposition yet you’re doing nothing for your people. I’m therefore glad to meet leaders of Democratic Party, UPC and Jeema. I don’t know why FDC doesn’t come, but that is up to them. Once we discuss issues, we can agree on a point of convergence and therefore move forward together.”
President Museveni: You can’t be in leadership and say, ‘I don’t want to talk.’ You should be very careful because God can decide to make you not talk…
Museveni: Okay, assuming I lent you this presidential chair for one month, what would you do in the first ten days?
Mao: I would repeal the Public Order Management Act and table electoral reforms in Parliament
Museveni: Then you will be finished. It means you would allow your opponents to hold rallies in markets, in the middle of roads..Oh.. there will be disorder.
President Museveni: “When I hear young people, young people. I am a former young person and I am here. I am a former youth and can authoritatively speak of being a youth leader, “Museveni told the second IPOD summit at Protea hotel in Entebbe on Monday evening. This method of dialogue is a good one. If dialogue had been used, Uganda would have avoided a lot of problems. All leaders before and after independence were still young but it was unfortunate they failed because of failure to dialogue.”
President Museveni: I’m sorry we kept you waiting, I was however not in a bar. You waited for some hours, waiting is not a big issue if you’re in an air-conditioned room, I waited for years in the bush.