By Our Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has urged leaders of the opposition political parties in the country, together with their supporters, to work with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government to eradicate electoral violence and the monetization of politics to give democracy and stability a chance to flourish in Uganda.
The President made the remarks yesterday at a meeting with a delegation of members of the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) at State House Entebbe, led its Mr. Fred Ebil, also former MP Kole county.
“These are very serious matters. If you want democracy and stability, you should not tolerate this electoral violence and money,” he said.
Other members included Eddy Fred Kasajja of Justice Forum (JEMA); Hadijja Babirye Kizito, Chairperson of JEMA Women’s League, Secretary General of NRM, Justine Kasule Lumumba and her Deputy, Richard Todwong, James Tuhairwe, an NRM representative on the IPOD Council and Lawrence Okae, the National Chairperson of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC); Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa and Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
An apology was received from Salaam Musumba of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) for not being able to attend the Entebbe meeting with the President because of other engagements.
The Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue was set up in 2010 to bring together leaders of all political shades in the country to foster a strong and vibrant multiparty democracy in Uganda based on peaceful co-existence of all citizens to work harmoniously.
The IPOD leaders, including FDC’s Proscovia Salaam Musumba, had prior to the meeting with the President, held another meeting with the NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba at the NRM Party Headquarters in Kampala, after which they addressed a joint press conference.
President Museveni, who had a very jovial interface with leaders of the opposition political parties, was responding to some of the concerns raised that included, among others, electoral violence, monetization of politics in the country and the issue of independents.
On electoral violence, President Museveni described it as ‘a big shame’ adding that it was one of the main causes of the crisis in the country after independence. He stressed that the vice must not be tolerated.
“I was working on stopping electoral violence myself. But if I get support we shall eradicate it,” he stressed.
Commenting on the monetisation of politics, the President observed that the use of money was a very dangerous practice that can disenfranchise the electorate and make voters shun elections.
“If you can bring money and you are elected because of money not because of your performance, that means the people have no power to punish you. The vote should be to punish or to reward you for doing well,” he observed.
Regarding the issue of ‘Independents’ and Party discipline, President Museveni concurred with members of IPOD that a mechanism should be formulated to enable political parties control their members, especially those who lose in the primaries.