Uganda’s opposition leaders have issued several conditions that the ruling NRM government must put in place before being party to any national dialogue.
The goal of the national dialogue as spearheaded by the Interreligiois Council of Uganda (IRCU) and the Elders’ Forum is to agree on a new national consensus to consolidate peace, democracy and inclusive development to achieve equal opportunity for all.
The political leaders set the conditions while addressing the media in Kampala; these were led by the former Uganda People Congress (UPC) President, Amb. Olara Otunnu, New Formation Chairman, Mugisha Muntu, DP President, Norbert Mao, FDC President represented by Waffula Oguttu, Peoples’ Government represented by Geoffrey Ekanya, PPP Chairman, Dick Odur, UPC President, Joseph Bossa and People Power represented by Samuel Mukaaku Lubega.
Olara Otunnu noted that as the opposition, they are alive to the fact that the country is in the grip of a grave national crisis and the situation has become highly toxic and explosive.
“This toxic atmosphere has now fused all sectors and all levels of our national life; there is need for a serious, genuine and well-prepared national dialogue to address this crisis,” Otunnu read the statement signed by all stakeholders.
“It is clear to us the undersigned political leaders that in order to ensure that such a national dialogue that will be fruitful, it is absolutely necessary to agree on and put in place a number of elements before embarking on the process of dialogue,” he added.
Otunnu noted that before any dialogue, the agenda, the composition of participants and the modalities for convening and facilitating of the National dialogue must be clear to all players.
“In order to avoid manipulations, it is necessary to agree on independent arrangements for financing the national dialogue. In order to ensure that the eventual outcome is acted upon and fully implemented by all stakeholders, it is necessary to agree beforehand on arrangements for guarantors of the outcome.”
The political leaders observed that in view of the recent ugly developments in the country, it is absolutely necessary for the government to demonstrate its good-faith through immediate and guaranteed end to all acts of political repression, persecution and impunity.
“In light of our painful and bitter experience, it is crucial for the government yo show its good-faith by immediate guarantees of freedom of political activities; these include, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of movement and freedom of organisation.”
Recently, opposition strongman, Dr Kizza Besigye while commenting on the efforts to have a national dialogue said that this dialogue should not be about getting political leaders in one place for a conference but rather to discuss transition.
“Any dialogue that seeks to address the fundamental issues of this country should work and talk about the transition. Those who hold the country captive should know that it is no longer acceptable,” Besigye said.
He reminded the actors pursuing the national dialogue that Museveni’s government is not the kind that will let go of power through mere persuasion, thus the need for hard work.