IPOD Summit: FDC Opted Out Over Lack of Right to Associate, Says Akena

President Museveni greets the other Principals; Jimmy Akena, Norbert Mao and Asuman Basalirwa at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) President Jimmy Akena, has revealed that the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has not quit the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) and that they remain committed to the objectives of the organization.

Akena who was addressing guests at the IPOD summit 2018 underway at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala noted that FDC decided to stay from the summit on claims that their right to assemble had been curtailed by the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

“I have spoken to the FDC President and essentially, their concerns centre around their right to associate. They have made it clear that they feel that their fundamental right to associate is being hindered and on that basis they have opted not to be part of this meeting,” Akena explained.

“They have however made it clear that they are not walking out of IPOD and have stated that they to continue taking responsibility in the activities of IPOD. We will have to brief them on what will transpire in today’s summit,” he added.

IPOD is an organisation formed in 2010 to allow political parties with representation in Parliament to dialogue consistently on key political issues, but out of the five political parties which signatory to the MoU of the organisation, only FDC is not attending the summit.

All other political parties including Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) Democratic Party (DP) and Justice Forum (JEEMA) are represented in the summit that is the first of it’s kind in Uganda’s politics.

FDC had earlier set conditions as a prerequisite for their attendance including not hold the meeting at State House as well as issuing the agenda to member parties, part of which would be discussing President Museveni’s stepping down.

But James Akena who is also the summit’s Chairperson, noted that even without a substantive agenda, talks on the political management of the country had to begin.

“The conversation which has started here today is vital, so even if we did not have a substantive agenda, we needed to start the conversation. And it is a great day to see colleagues singing their different party songs together,” Akena noted.

He further asked the IPOD to keeping holding summit of the kind until all parties go for elections and satisfactorily come out and say they was free and fair.

President Yoweri Museveni of the ruling NRM, Asuman Basalirwa of JEEMA, Norbert Mao of DP and Jimmy Akena of UPC are the four Principals in attendance. By time of publication, the four Principals were in a closed-door side meeting.

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