The Democratic Party (DP) President, Norbert Mao has downplayed the criticism towards the IPOD summit in recent weeks and instead termed Wednesday’s dialogue between President Yoweri Museveni and three opposition leaders as a beginning of a journey, rather than a mere event.
Mao made the submission while addressing the landmark Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) summit which took place on Wednesday at Speke Resort Munyonyo under the theme ‘Strengthening Multiparty governance in Uganda’.
Mao told the delegates at the meeting of four political party Presidents of DP, UPC, JEEMA and NRM that today’s summit is just the beginning of an entire new political process. He took a swipe at the media which has in the run up to the summit “fanned controversy” to create an impression that opposition political actors were against the initiative.
On the contrary, Mao said, the media sparked curiosity and interest among the populace making IPOD Summit a popular search item on the internet.
He applauded President Museveni for allowing to participate in dialogue despite having a number of privileges that could have hindered him from attending.
“When Kasule Lumumba informed us that Museveni had agreed to attend the summit, I asked myself whether in Museveni’s shoes I would have liked to dialogue with the minority even when I have an army that I firmly control and I am well represented in Parliament,” Mao said.
“Some people are talking as if the summit was like some earthquake and now the summit is taking place and when it closes, we shall say it closed and the earth has not fallen because it is not an event but a process,” Mao said.
Mao added that when he reflected, he realized that the opposition are not the minority but representing a number of people.
“We may look small and few but we are representing a very powerful current in the population and the President of Uganda in his wisdom became aware that we represent a very powerful current,” Mao said.
“I want to assure you delegates that we did not insulate the President from the electricity which is in the population, we have conducted it in its full voltage and that formed the subject of the summit.”
Mao said that during the closed meeting between the four Principals of political parties, they inquired, listened to each other with the aim of understanding each us as well as each representing their individual views.
“We did this without aggressiveness but with respect towards each other as well as airing out thoughts to understand each us. We all took individual stands and did it effectively”.
Mao observed that there are challenges to each process and appealed to Ugandans to be patient and bear in mind that this is just the beginning of a long journey.