KAMPALA – The IPOD platform should be seen as an opportunity for dialogue and a platform for leveraging equal playing ground for all political parties. The IPOD should be the starting point for the unification of our political agenda.
With the shrinking civic space, we need to continue to sanitise available spaces so that they are not eroded with one-man party politics. Also, we need to be able to work together to set the agenda for the next five years of politics, whether they will be ridden in strife or they will help in pushing dialogue and opening up the healing process for many Ugandans.
The IPOD platform should work with the NCF to see to it that equal representation of all political parties is achieved in order for work to done. With the growing weakness and influence of political parties, spaces for dialogue provide a chance for these political parties to come to a consensus on issues that are of contention in the parties and in the society.
With the increased tension from the arbitrary arrests and abduction of citizens and opposition party loyalists. It is imperative for the political parties to not only have dialogue but also to set the principles of engagement which are continually eroded in our politics.
The unfortunate part of such a platform would be that it is abused from its mandate and turned into a handshaking and power struggle arena. We as a country need to migrate away from the politics of child-play and work towards synergies and dutiful dissent. If there is still room for dialogue let us leverage it to avoid plunging ourselves into civil strife and unrest.
Multi-party politics continues to struggle in Uganda with the over-centralization of power and dominance of one political party, the IPOD befits a special purpose vehicle in which we can ensure political pluralism in the politics of Uganda.
Through its defiance plan the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) advances a boycott on all events chaired and inclusive of the regime and its party. The FDC argues that sitting on the same table with the regime and pretending to have an amicable dialogue is by far the most sell-out position to take—to them— the regime plunged in autocratic tendencies cannot be negotiated with and therefore, “…the most horrible autocracy is not the one that suppresses resistance, but the one that makes you feel that it is unnecessary to resist, or even makes you defend the regime.”
Be it as it may, we cannot close off channels for dialogue, unless we have an alternative to improving our democracy and in redeeming the ever-darkening political space. Diversity is inherently non-conflictious. The greatest potential for the IPOD is to harness and utilize diversity as a springboard for the development of democratic practices that can translate into national, political, cultural and economic resilience.
The IPOD is an inclusive marker for changing the democratic narrative of Uganda, it can help in accentuating identity citizenship, help in consensus building and ultimately lead the narrative for national unity and patriotism.
The writer, Tricia Gloria Nabaye is the Resident Research Associate, Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies