The opposition Democratic Party (DP) Secretary General, Gerald Siranda has cautioned President Yoweri Museveni and other political actors to desist from making pronouncements that threaten multi-party democracy in the country.
While addressing delegates during the first Interparty Platform for Dialogue (IPOD), Siranda noted that the statement made by President Museveni during his 2016 campaigns stating that there will be no opposition parties in the country by 2021 was retrogressive to the multi party system in Uganda.
“We should mind about the language we use. What we speak should reflect the willingness to grow multipartism in the country,” Siranda told delegates while making his opening remarks.
“The Spirit of whipping out multipartism and such statements were all unnecessary and have remained a challenge to us as opposition politicians in the country,” Siranda said.
For a long time, the opposition has been decrying the shrinking political space at the hands of the State machinery. Many political players in the opposition have repeatedly accused President Museveni of using State institutions especially security agencies to clamp down on their freedoms of expression and assembly.
The most notable of the concerns by the opposition, is the Public Order Management Act which they say government has repeatedly used to block opposition political activities.
“We are not here for a photo opportunity of to drink mineral water. Ugandans want to see results out of this meeting by allowing us space to lead our people,” the DP Secretary General added.
Siranda observed that despite the country transitioning into a multi-party dispensation in 2005, the country has continued to be run as a single party State.
“We use this meeting to call upon the Head of State to use his powers to prevail over institutions and agencies that have continued to narrow the space of multipartism”.
“You should use this summit outcomes to groom and nurture multipartism so that once your party is not in power, the environment around will allow your party to thrive,” Siranda told Museveni.
He as well appealed to stakeholders in the summit to consider discussing and coming up with a new form sharing political party funding that is appropriated by Parliament.
Currently, the funding is shared according to the party’s numeric strength in Parliament which according to Democratic Party is unfair since all parties incur similar costs to fund operations and administration.
“We could atleast think of putting up a general figure that is shared by all parties equally and the other percentage of the funding shared according to the numeric strength in Parliament,” Siranda noted.