President Yoweri Museveni has slammed the biggest opposition political party in Uganda, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) for shunning Wednesday’s IPOD summit.
Speaking at the summit which took place at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Museveni wondered why a political party like FDC would abscond from a political dialogue yet they claim to be democracy seekers.
Museveni said that his attendance of the summit organized by the Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) brings him great joy since dialogue is the beginning of democracy.
“I don’t know why anybody [FDC] who says they are democrats would not like dialogue. I always welcome opportunities for dialogue because when you don’t dialogue, you miss an opportunity to be understood clearly,” Museveni told delegates.
Of the dominant opposition political parties in Uganda, only FDC was not represented at the summit. The others; DP, UPC and JEEMA were represented by their respective Principals; Norbert Mao, Jimmy Akena and Asuman Basalirwa.
“When I say I want to lead people and then I say I don’t want to speak to so and so, then I am betraying my mandate,” said Museveni.
“If out of arrogance you say you don’t want to talk, then that is your problem and they are doing so because they miscalculate. They [FDC] think they are cleverer and that is how they miss out on opportunities,” he noted.
Museveni said he has always participated in political dialogue including in the past with Milton Obote and Tito Okello even when they were exchanging gun fire. He also alluded to the first political summit during which as President he held discussions with former DP leader, Ssebaana Kizito and UPC’s Miria Obote.
Meanwhile, Museveni used the summit to appeal to opposition politicians to work towards improving the prosperity of Ugandans rather than being preoccupied with the next election and transition of power. He said that even if Uganda got the highest number of transitions of leaders without a purpose, it will serve the country no good.
The President also reiterated that his government will not tolerate violence and anarchy propagated by opposition actors. He was responding to concerns raised by JEEMA President Asuman Basalairwa who decried the continued suppression by security agencies of opposition activities.
“As for Association of freedoms as raised by Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, there is no problem in people assembling, the only problem we have is that some people decide to assemble in markets where people are selling their products. It is not correct to have one leg in constitutional conduct and another in unconstitutional conduct, government has got a duty to protect the property of Ugandans,” Museveni said.