Asuman Basalirwa, the President of Justice Forum commonly known as JEEMA this week handed over the chairmanship of the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue Platform (IPOD) to Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
President Yoweri Museveni’s reign will last for six months.
JEEMA ‘s Secretary General Mohammad Kateregga who was also the IPOD Council Chairman, handed over the reigns to his counterpart Justine Lumumba, the Secretary General of NRM who represented the party President who didm not spare time for the ceremony.
IPOD is an organization meant to promote honest discussions between political parties with representatives in Uganda’s Parliament.
The handover ceremony took place December 22, 2020 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
Kateregga said: “The process of institutionalization is not complete. It requires leadership and goodwill of members to completion, NRM leadership is critical in seeing this coming to a tangible end,” he said.
He revealed that the IPOD council of secretaries held a number of meetings with the Prime Minister Minister of Finance and the Electoral Commission where the issue of increasing political funding was discussed.
“I am glad to report that in the last quarter, the commission released 20bn to Political Parties and the Ministry has indicated that sooner than later, an addition of UGX5bn will be released,” Kateregga said.
Political Party (PP) Presidents from the Democrartic party (DP), Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and Deputy Secretary General Forum for Democratic change (FDC) Harold Kaija came up to express their early disappointment in the incoming leadership.
At the same event, DP President Nobert Mao slammed NRM of unfairly distributing money that was allocated to political parties to fund their campaign process.
“When the money was released, NRM took the biggest share, they gave DP only 100m out of the 20bn. NRM you are thieves, it is totally unacceptable because you are undermining IPOD. How do expect us to seat in a summit and trust you again, you are shameless,” he said
Mao noted that violence and riots among youths is a sign of frustration.
“We had a constitution which gave us term and age limits but it was removed. At Least we thought that we could tolerate someone for a period of time,” he said.
“I call upon leaders to adjust their language. I want to call upon the incoming chairman Kaguta to reduce his threatening language.” he added
Kaija added that another cause of violence is the unequal distribution of resources.
“NRM feel that if political parties are given money, they will use it to fight them so they feel safe when we are weak,” he said
He added that: “It is hard to appreciate because everyone is scared. I feel saddened when I see that it is NRM taking over. If the tormentors are taking charge, I don’t feel safe, will they even call for a meeting when there are challenges.”
Lumumba cautioned Mao on the language he used to refer to the NRM party noting that DP should have asked for accountability instead of accusing the party of theft.
“In reference to what Mao has said, Instead of accusing us of theft, you ought to have asked for accountability. All of you who are in office or out of office are fighting to remove NRM from power so we have to double our efforts.
I know there is pressure from the elections but as leaders we have to torn down our language because we act as examples to the people we lead,” she said
She added: “I want to thank NIMD for keeping us politicians together which isn’t easy. JEEMA has led us at a time when we had decided to distributionalize IPOD an as NRM, we shall start from that.”
She further urged the public to guard themselves and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“If you haven’t suffered, you can doubt that Covid is not real. Please, I suffered it and I want to appeal to everyone to guard themselves. If you feel fatigue go to the hospital for check up because it starts with such symptoms,” Lumumba said.
The platform is funded by Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).