The Justice Forum has been readmitted back in the Interparty Organisation for Dialogue (Ipod) months after its president Asuman Basalirwa was elected member of parliament for Bugiri municipality following a hotly contested election.
Jeema had been part of Ipod, an organisation started in 2010 that brings together political parties that have MPs represented in parliament until 2016 when it failed to win any constituency after its lone MP Hussein Kyanjo, the former Makindye West MP retired in 2016.
Jeema’s readmission brings to five political parties that make up Ipod; the others being NRM, FDC, UPC and DP.
Speaking at a function held at Protea hotel to officially welcome Jeema back to the fold, Frank Rusa, the country representative of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, a renowned international NGO facilitating interparty dialogue and political capacity strengthening which hosts Ipod, said dialogue has never been so important to Uganda than now.
“Since the Ipod platform is a safe space to promote important and honest discussions between political parties at the highest levels, a new political party like Jeema coming in with a unique perspective to national issues is a much welcome addition to this platform” Rusa said.
Uganda People’s Congress president James Akena who is the chairman of the Summit; an Ipod organ that brings together political party presidents said there is no alternative to dialogue amidst the deteriorating political tension in Uganda.
He added that the coming on board of Jeema will go a long way in addressing the hostility that continues to be felt among the leaders and the led.
“I am happy to see Jeema join us once more. Jeema never left and we have always considered them as part of us. We are all fighting for the same thing: a democratized citizenry, and this can only be achieved through proper dialogue among all parties concerned. Therefore, I call upon all MPs to advocate for dialogue, irrespective of which party you belong to,” Akena said.
DP president general, Norbert Mao decried the seemingly lack of commitment on the NRM side stressing that it’s the reason why the summit has failed to meet despite of the fact that Ipod is about to celebrate 10 years.
“We continue to call on the NRM to respect other members. If you can speak to LRA [Lord Resistance Army] rebel group led by Joseph Kony why not us?” Mao said.
He called on NRM representatives in Ipod to desist from claiming to be speaking for the party; committing to resolutions only for their superiors to turn around and reject them.
“If you know you don’t represent the position of the NRM then shut up,” Mao said in the presence of James Tweheyo, a member of the NRM central executive committee (CEC), the highest decision making organ of the party who had represented the secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba.
Jeema chairman, Muhammad Mayanja Kibirige thanked Ipod for welcoming them back to the fold and promised to work with other political players irrespective of ideology in developing the country.
He said when they lost their lone parliamentary seat, they gracefully bowed out of Ipod without seeking to bend the rules to accommodate them.
“We urge our colleagues that whenever such issues arise when you must step down, let them do so without seeking to bend the rules,” Mayanja said.
He added that as Ipod, they are not seeking a merger of parties but to rather come together and tackle similar challenges bedevilling the people of Uganda.