The National Unity Platform Party-NUP has declined to join the Interparty Organization for Dialogue-IPOD. IPOD brings together parties with representation in Parliament to dialogue on issues affecting the country.
In 2017, five political parties, the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM, Forum for Democratic Change-FDC, Democratic Party-DP, Uganda People’s Congress-UPC and Justice Forum Party- JEEMA signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to form IPOD.
Upon the expiry of the MoU, the IPOD secretariat embarked on a process of drafting a new MoU seeking input from former members. At the same time, the secretariat invited two parties, the NUP and the People’s Progressive Party which had won seats in parliament to join the organization.
However, in a letter dated September 2 written by the NUP Secretary-General David Lewis Lubongoya, NUP will not join IPOD because the platform has largely been used to legitimize a brutal regime that has no regard or respect for democracy.
“The regime uses it (IPOD) for political gain, far from its intended objective of strengthening Uganda’s multiparty democracy. You will agree that in the past ten years of IPOD’s existence in Uganda, the democratic space has shrunk, going from bad to worse every successive year” wrote Lubongoya.
He says hundreds of NUP supporters have been abducted, tortured and allegedly killed.
“We have taken time to study the discussion that has taken place in IPOD over time. In our assessment, the regime has turned it into a forum in which Party Principals meet for a cup of tea, followed by a photo opportunity” added Lubongoya.
He also says that serious discussions about Uganda’s future have been denied audience within the platform and hence NUP is not keen on being part of an exercise that is used as a façade to legitimize an otherwise illegitimate rule.
Under IPOD, Heads of member political parties meet and make resolutions regarding democracy and multiparty dispensation in Uganda.
In previous summits, leaders have made resolutions like increasing funding for political parties, equal sharing of the funds during an election year, adopting regulations for the implementation of the Public Order Management Act-POMA and creating and respecting a levelled and fair political ground.
However, of all these resolutions, the increase of funding for Political parties from Shillings 10 to 35 billion has been implemented. POMA regulations were also drafted by the IPOD Council of Secretaries Generals but have never been tabled before parliament for approval.
The five former members of IPOD have indicated willingness to continue being part of the organization.