National Dialogue Convenes Today at State House

Members of the Inter-religious Council and Elders' Forum addressing a news conference in October.

The launch of the long awaited historical national dialogue is scheduled for today Tuesday, at State House in Entebbe.

The dialogue is spearheaded by the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) and The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU) who both aspire to achieve peace and harmony within Uganda. IRCU’s mission is to promote dialogue and harmonious co-existence amongst all faith groups and encourage non-violent resolution of conflicts.

It was earlier scheduled for November 21, but was postponed to today, to enable conclusion of the then on-going consultations with other key stakeholders.

On November 13, President Yoweri Museveni held a consultative meeting with members of IRCU and TEFU, and emphasized the importance of the National Dialogue, saying it was for the promotion of stability and prosperity.

The President further stressed broad-based involvement and inclusion of different key stakeholders.

It is expected that today’s launch will be used by representatives from different groups to adopt the process framework paper which sets out the agenda and modalities for the dialogue, set up thematic working groups and authorise the planned nationwide citizens’ consultation.

Speaking in September, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, the chairperson of the IRCU, said the national dialogue is not an event, but a process, adding that its first phase would lead to the national conference.

“We envisage that the first phase of the process will culminate into national conference to take place in June 2019,” he said, adding that: “The process will proceed along multiple tracks, with conversations led by the IRCU and TEFU.”

It is however not clear whether the conveners of this dialogue will follow their earlier agenda released at the end of September, which highlighted seven issues which according to them would move Uganda forward.

They included a national consensus on values, national consensus on diversity, an economy that works for everybody and a national consensus on access to land and natural resources.

Others are national consensus on service delivery, consensus on political commitment, constitutionalism and implementation modalities.

It also remains unclear whether all opposition political parties will take part in today’s dialogue.

Democratic Party in October indicated that they were not to participate as long as the framework and parameters for convening the dialogue are not clear enough.

Justice Forum’s Spokesperson, Abdunoor Kyamundu, has Tuesday morning intimated to SoftPower News that they are also not ready for the dialogue.

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