The National Unity Platform party secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya on Thursday at the NBS Frontline show explained a series of justifications why they cannot indulge in the IPOD dialogue. Our reporter extracts for you the key Rubongoya highlights from the Frontline show.

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1. “Gen. Museveni’s approach to politics is based on two things- coercion and co-optation. When he fails to co-opt you, he uses violence to crash you. He views political opponents not as competitors but as enemies who should be crashed. That is why he has spoken several times of crashing opponents and eating them like samosas.”

2. “The reason we are not joining IPOD is because it has been usurped by the regime, like all other institutions in Uganda. Gen. Museveni has taken it over and uses it to sanitise torture and brutality. He views it as a photo opportunity only meant to give him a semblance of a tolerant and democratic ruler when he is actually a military dictator.”

3. “How can we talk about dialogue amongst political parties when political parties are not allowed to operate? Parties are not allowed to do even the most basic mobilisation activities. We just came out of the most violent and irregular election. How can we talk about dialogue without having an audit of that election? Several NUP offices across the country have been closed. Our head office was raided and put under siege for over a month. What kind of dialogue takes place under such an atmosphere? You put me under gunpoint and say, let’s talk? You cannot have your boot on my neck and ask me to dialogue. It is free men who engage in dialogue.”

4. “Gen. Museveni does not believe in dialogue. He uses the so called dialogue to keep his opponents engaged, while he advances on them. You remember what he did with the Nairobi peace talks. While other parties were in Nairobi for four months engaging in dialogue, he used that time to re-organise his troops and kept advancing until he took over Kampala. While he keeps you busy in the so called dialogue, he is using that time to prepare and crash you.”

5. “Some people ask, how can you say Uganda is a dictatorship when you have Parliament? There are different types of dictatorship- you have absolute dictators, benevolent dictators, etc. Absolute dictatorships have fallen out of favor. Uganda is a hybrid regime. A hybrid regime is a clear dictatorship but tries to project itself as a democracy. In such a system, you have courts but they are not independent. Once in a while you may win a few cases, but on the most critical matters, you will never get a judgement. You have a Parliament, but it is under capture by the regime. Yes, you may win a few seats but that’s as far as it goes. A hybrid regime will organise elections every five years, but those elections are not free or fair. Why do such regimes do this? Simply to get legitimacy before the international community and persuade them to give aid.”

6. “NUP believes in genuine dialogue that is transparent, accountable and based on good will. We want dialogue which brings together the people of Uganda, and not just party principles on the negotiating table.”

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