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Uganda’s main opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has ruled out its participation in the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) Summit, citing political harassment and lack of goodwill from President Museveni.

The move will most likely appease FDC’s radical wing which doubts President Museveni’s commitment to IPOD’s resolutions which include restraining police in suppressing opposition assemblies.

However, FDC will equally face criticism from liberals who believe the party should show some level of maturity in resolving political contestations.

“As we informed the country last week, the forum for democratic change (FDC) is not attending today’s Inter Party Organization (IPOD) summit in Entebbe,” said FDC publicist, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda at a press conference in Kampala on Monday.

Ssemujju said the reason for non-attendances are as they were in December last year during a similar IPOD Summit meeting in Munyonyo.

He cited what he described as “violent and brutal crackdown on our political activities by the military, police and other security agencies on the order of the NRM Chairman.”

The FDC spokesperson said their leaders mainly the Party President Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Dr Kizza Besigye have been “repeatedly teargased and brutally arrested,” adding, “Radio stations hosting FDC leaders have been switched off by or on the orders of Resident District Commissioners who are directly appointed and supervised by Mr. Museveni. The Leaders are supposed to present views and feelings of Party leaders and members at such important meetings.”

Ssemujju said at the moment, FDC is unable to meet its leaders and supporters who are the real owners of the Party.

“If our colleagues have another mechanism of collecting views from their members other than meetings, for us we are not in position,” he added.

The FDC has been accused of mistaking IPOD deliberations for peace talks.

Polarisation

Frank Rusa, The Executive secretary of IPOD, says the forum is meant to allow political parties iron out their differences in a safe and impartial space instead of fomenting divisions and polarization in their supporters.

“It is founded on the philosophy that is possible to have a degree of cooperation even in the midst of stiff multiparty competition. The interparty dialogue process is designed to promote a degree of tolerance among different political actors in the spirit of “putting Uganda First”, he recently told ChimpReports.

But FDC today cited the “lack of good will by Mr. Museveni and NRM leading to frustration of IPOD resolutions” as another reason for their failure to grace today’s IPOD summit.

“As IPOD members, we generated proposals for electoral and Political reforms in 2014. We processed these proposals into Bills that were handed over to the Parliament. The NRM Chairman and his Secretary General frustrated them hiding under the lack of time. Another election is approaching and the NRM has prevented adoption of any meaningful reforms,” said Ssemujju.

“Instead they have dragged Parliament and the Judiciary into changing the Constitution to allow Mr. Museveni dies in office. Restoration of the term limit and now the age limit are some of the reforms we had proposed. These important issues are not even on the agenda of the summit. To demonstrate good will, all IPOD proposals must be presented and passed by Parliament before we attend these summit. These proposal include stopping Museveni from becoming a president for life,” he added,

Responding to critics, Ssemujju said FDC respects the decisions of other Political Parties.

“We are not faulting anyone but explaining our absence at this meeting. We still think IPOD was a very good idea but it must not turn itself into a pain killer. It must and has capacity to be real medicine disease,” he observed.

The leaders are today expected to discuss public funding for political entities, Public Order Management Act (POMA) and Electoral reforms.

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