The National Unity Platform (NUP), led by Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, has declined to join the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), stating that it is solely utilized by party leaders to gather for a cup of tea and picture ops.
All political parties with representation in parliament are members of IPOD.
According to a letter from the NUP secretary general, David Lewis Rubongoya, dated September 2nd, 2021, to the executive secretary IPOD, the government uses the organization for political benefit, which is distant from the stated goal of developing Uganda’s multi-party democracy.
According to him, democratic space has shrunk over the last ten years of IPOD’s existence, getting worse with each passing year.
“You will recall that the National Unity Platform’s leadership met with you and a representative from the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy on April 26, 2021. (NIMD). You made a passionate request for the National Unity Platform to join IPOD at that meeting,” the letter said in part.
Rubongoya noted that while NUP expressed thanks for being invited to join IPOD, the group has been co-opted and exploited to legitimize a harsh administration that has no concern for democratic governance.
“We have taken the time to research the IPOD discussion that has occurred throughout time. According to our opinion, the regime has converted it into a venue where party leaders congregate for a cup of tea and a photo op. Serious debates regarding our country’s future have been denied access to the platform,” he remarked.
Hundreds of their supporters have been kidnapped, tortured, and even murdered, according to Rubongoya, and many NUP supporters are currently incarcerated in various prisons across the country, but IPOD remains silent.
He reiterated that NUP will not join IPOD until meaningful adjustments are made that take into account the interests of ordinary Ugandans.
IPOD was founded in February 2010 by six political parties who agreed to manage the multiparty platform through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Because the NUP is the current leading opposition party with the most members of parliament from the opposition, its absence could jeopardize IPOD’s credibility.