The NUP has rejected to join the Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD). IPOD brings together political parties with members of Parliament to discuss topics that impact the country.
The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the Democratic Party (DP), the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), and the Justice Forum Party (JEEMA) signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to form IPOD in 2017.
Following the MoU’s expiration, the IPOD secretariat began the process of creating a new MoU with input from former members. At the same time, the NUP and the People’s Progressive Party, both of which gained seats in parliament, were asked to join the organization by the secretariat.
However, NUP Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya stated in a letter dated September 2 that the party will not join IPOD because the platform has mostly been used to legitimize a ruthless administration that has no regard or respect for democracy.
“The dictatorship uses it (IPOD) for political gain, rather than the stated goal of improving Uganda’s multiparty democracy,” says the report. You will agree that the democratic space in Uganda has decreased over the last ten years of IPOD’s existence, getting worse every year,” Lubongoya wrote.
He claims that hundreds of NUP followers have been kidnapped, tortured, and executed.
“We have spent time studying the IPOD discussion throughout time. According to our opinion, the dictatorship has transformed it into a forum where party leaders congregate for a cup of tea and a picture opportunity,” Lubongoya remarked.
He also claims that genuine conversations regarding Uganda’s future have been denied a forum, and that the NUP is unwilling to participate in an exercise that is being used as a ruse to justify an otherwise illegal regime.
Heads of member political parties gather under IPOD and make resolutions on democracy and multiparty rule in Uganda.
Leaders have made resolutions in the past, such as raising money for political parties, equalizing funding during election years, implementing regulations for the application of the Public Order Management Act-POMA, and building and respecting a leveled and fair political ground.
However, only the increase in political party funding from Shillings 10 to 35 billion has been enacted out of all of these decisions. The IPOD Council of Secretary Generals also produced POMA regulations, but these were never presented to parliament for ratification.
Members of the People’s Progressive Party have shown an interest in continuing to take part in IPOD activities.