Democratic Party (DP) President Norbert Mao has handed over leadership of that Inter-Party Organisation Dialogue (IPOD) chairmanship to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Patrick Oboi Amuriat aka POA.
The hand over, which was long overdue, was held at Fairway Hotel, Kampala, during which FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi took over as Chairman of the Council while President Patrick Oboi Amuriat will head the Summit.
The Outgoing Chairperson of the IPOD Summit also President General of Democratic Party Hon. Nobert Mao,Other Summit members;The NRMO Chairman Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is conspicuously absent in this hall,
Hon. Jimmy Akena, the President of UPC,
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, the President of Justice Forum (JEEMA) who is ably represented by my good brother and colleague Hon. Hussein Kyanjo,
The Out going Chairman of IPOD Council Dr. Gerald Blacks Siranda also DP Secretary General,
The incoming Chairman of the IPOD Council Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi who happens to be the FDC Secretary General and Members of the Council,
The IPOD Secretariat,
All of you distinguished delegations from IPOD member Parties,
Member of the Press,
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me much pleasure and honor to address you gallant leaders of Political Parties, development partners and all gathered here on this very important occasion of handing over power peacefully under the IPOD umbrella.
The smooth transfer of authority from one leader / Political Party (my brother Hon. Nobert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party) to another, which is uncommon in our African political discourse, is something Ugandans have never seen in the governance of our Country.
I congratulate the Hon. Nobert Mao and the Democratic Party for managing to steer the ship well in troubled waters. I also wish to recognize the positive contribution made by all the other heads of political parties in IPOD, the IPOD Secretariat and indeed Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) for making this task easier.
The main reason IPOD was born arising from discussions in the Inter Party Cooperation (IPC) was to Champion and fast track a peaceful transfer of power from one head of state to another.
The inspiration came from Ghana where President Gen. Jerry Rawlings handed power to President John Kufour. We wanted to see a similar scenario happen in Uganda where we transit from one President to another without bloodshed. In respect to this, our history speaks volumes.
To remind you my dear friends, IPOD sent a delegation to Ghana for a benchmarking mission in 2009 that later culminated into another delegation from Ghana headed by Gen. Johnson Asiedu Nkethia Mosquito the then Secretary General of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who had been one of the leaders at the center of effecting a peaceful transfer of power in Ghana visiting, and guiding us in the formation processes.
We, the member parties set out objectives in a guiding document that we all signed which is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that should bind us. It is these principles that we ought to jealously protect as we transact any business in IPOD. As FDC, we promise to follow the Memorandum of Understanding to the extent that it is possible.
Among others, the memorandum is clear on the pursuance and promotion of fundamental principles of democracy, good governance, and human rights but more important, objective (h) sets out to promote and protect the observance of fundamental human rights.
The FDC didn’t attend the previous two intended summits because as indicated in our communication to the IPOD Executive Secretary, members of the Summit and Council, we feel documents that are jointly drafted and signed should be respected and implemented.
The current hostile political environment in the Country towards FDC, our sister parties and other Political formations in the opposition cannot guarantee our Parties to actively and freely participate in the multi-party political dispensation.
Examples of abuse of Human Rights, mis-interpretation of POMA leading to the stopping of Political activities of registered Political Parties (Kasese activities, Rukungiri thanks giving and Memorial service, Mbarara activity, all the mobilization activities conducted between April to August, most recently Busia and Butaleja leaders meeting, Namboole leaders meeting, stopping of Radio talk shows, invasion of Party headquarters, DP block re-union meeting in Jinja, the Monday 18th November 2019 blocking of a UPC Women’s league meeting in Kasese among others), and tormenting of Political leaders by the authorities are very much alive in our memories.
These violations need to be put to an end with immediate effect, as they do not require any further discussions or negotiations.
Also noteworthy ladies and gentlemen, are some of the thematic areas raised like enacting constitutional and electoral reforms which were previously discussed and to date have not been seriously considered by our friends in the ruling Government under the NRMO.
The NRMO is once again busy organizing general elections for us without reforms and any consultations with other Political Parties. It is basically their elections, not for us all and this should be a concern of all the participating IPOD members who believe in the peace of this Country.
This handover should have taken place 0n the 25th September 2019, unfortunately due to some misunderstandings on the modus operandi; it has taken us an extra 2 months to take over.
The memorandum of Understanding is very clear about the time for which one holds office at the helm of IPOD, we least expected a delayed handover to happen. At one point, democracy had evaded us but the most beautiful aspect of the disagreement is that in the end, we agreed.
Nonetheless colleagues, as we reminiscence on the core principles of IPOD, let us begin a new chapter by fostering trust and confidence among ourselves, enhance cooperation, build harmony and facilitate a smooth transition of power especially at the level of the Presidency.
In order to achieve this as the Chairman of the Summit, I will be spending part of my time in the very first weeks discussing with you heads of Parties here assembled. I hope we will have an opportunity to appreciate the challenges we are facing as a country and how we can help each other realize the dream of a new Uganda.
As Andrew Carnegie clearly put it “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it himself or to get all credit for doing it”. As leaders, we are endowed with knowledge to make pertinent decisions that impact on society but our capacity to understand our limitations and inefficiency mean a lot.
After a leader serving a Country for as long as the NRMO chairman has done, it is important to understand that a peaceful transition should not be at the mercy of negotiations but a must and an obligation of the leader himself and the led.
A Peaceful transition is the most essential and what should comprise most of our discussions if we are to give meaning to the current multi-party political dispensation and our very co-existence.
There are only two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
IPOD in its processes should play the key role of being the candle as we leaders become mirrors that reflects the light of the Uganda that will serve and work for all of us.
Ladies and gentlemen, to achieve peaceful transition, we will be proposing meaningful dialogue. The hallmark of which should entail the following;
• Clearly spelt out Parties to the dialogue
• A neutral convener/ facilitator
• An agreed upon Agenda
• A guarantor of the outcomes.
For emphasis, we wish to reiterate that the only dialogue that is required at this time is on how to achieve an all-inclusive transition of administration. In our consideration, the following key activities shall be the main tasks of the transition administration;
• Constitutional review
• Rebuilding of institutions
• Truth telling, justice and reconciliation
• Free and fair elections.
Finally, the FDC welcomes the opportunity to head both the Summit and Council. We commit ourselves to the objectives, ideals and principles of IPOD and we have confidence that we shall be able to steer and offer our very best leadership while cognizant of building harmony amongst all parties to the IPOD
I wish to invite all of you leaders here gathered to help us create an environment that will ensure the fulfillment of the objectives of IPOD.
I thank you all for coming to witness this peaceful handover as we work hard in hand towards achieving the same at the top most position in our country.
Again thank you all, God bless you, God bless Uganda as we build the spirit of togetherness in diversity.
One Uganda, One People.
Patrick Oboi Amuriat
PARTY PRESIDENT FDC/IPOD CHAIRPERSON