IPOD summit mere paparazzi event, says FDC’s Mafabi  

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Nandala Mafabi

Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi has said the opposition Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] can only commit itself to meaningful National Dialogue as means of securing the future and conflict resolution.

In a message shared by his secretary, Paga Gloria, the FDC secretary general said a meaningful structured dialogue is urgently needed “if we have to avoid sliding into chaos”.

“We have time and again emphasised that a meaningful dialogue must be structured within built safeguards and implementation of outcomes.”

While addressing the FDC National Council at the party head offices last week, Mafabi said the dialogue can only be possible if:

There is an agreed upon neutral convener, a clearly stipulated agenda, defined parties to the dialogue, agreed mediator/facilitator and a guarantor of the outcomes or resolutions backed by a legal frame work.

“I will not commit FDC under my tenure as Secretary General to a resemblance of a Dialogue that lacks credibility but rather a paparazzi event,” Mafabi concluded.

FDC went ahead and opted out of the dialogue that was attended by Democratic Party [DP], Uganda People’s Congress [UPC], Jeema party and the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM].

Kasule fires at Mafabi

Speaking on the sidelines of the Speke Resort Munyonyo summit, NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba, lambasted FDC for missing an important opportunity to dialogue with Museveni.

Lumumba said Mafabi was the first person to call for summit during the IPOD council meetings, but the party pulled out at the last minute.

She further argued that this was the only opportunity that FDC had to directly raise their issues to Museveni in front of hundreds of Ugandans.

Criticism

Former Observer journalist and now NilePost news editor, Edris Kiggundu,  cited a similar meeting which Dr Kizza Besigye boycotted in 2006 when the president met those who contested against him in 2006 elections at State House Nakasero.

“I covered the meeting and I remember writing a story that cast doubt on whether the MoU signed by Museveni and those who attended the meeting would materialise.”

According to Kiggundu, with 2021 around the corner and with President Museveni’s image battered by the controversial removal of the age-limit, the roughing of his political opponents in Arua and the latest corruption allegations against people close to him, the meeting is a face-saving act.

“While I appreciate the need for dialogue among political players, I think we need to set some clear benchmarks and modalities of how they should be structured.”

Kiggundu said he is aware that IPOD is a donor supported platform and sometimes funders put pressure on local political actors to be seen to move in one direction.

“Yet given the nature of our politics and the dishonesty on the part of some political actors, such meetings, I am afraid, could be a waste of time and a mockery of what real dialogue is supposed to be.”

He added: “At best they are photo-taking opportunities and the closed sessions of such meetings are usually avenues for some shrewd politicians to privately seek favours from an obliging president. I hope this time, IPOD can prove me wrong.”

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