The Inter-Party Organisation Dialogue (IPOD) is in jeopardy after its main supporter, the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), said it would stop funding it.
The NIMD stated in a statement dated September 21, 2022 that it will “reassess its involvement” in IPOD unless the largest opposition party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), agrees to join.
“Now that the National Unity Platform (NUP), Uganda’s biggest opposition party has indicated that they will not sign up to the revised 2022 IPOD Memorandum of Understanding, and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is hesitant to sign up,” the statement continues.
NIMD stated that they have supported IPOD since 2010, and that until the last general election in 2021, all political parties represented in Parliament have participated in IPOD prior to the arrival of the NUP.
They stated that IPOD, as the country’s only national discussion platform, can play a critical role in developing democracy, but only if it is truly inclusive and all legislative parties are present at the conversation table.
“For NIMD, inclusivity is a prerequisite for effective dialogue. We believe that a dialogue process can only work when all political parties in Parliament commit to speaking and listening to each other as they deal with the many challenges in their country, with respect for differences in viewpoints between various parties,” the statement adds.
NUP Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya told Nile Post that they will not join IPOD unless the requirements they established are met.
“We will not join IPOD until the issues stated by us are resolved.” They should stop kidnapping individuals, let the opposition parties do their business without interference, and elections should be respected,” Rubongoya said.
According to the NUP secretary general, IPOD has not done enough to address the critical concerns threatening Uganda’s democracy.
FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda applauded the NIMD decision, claiming that the donors were even late since they had always complained about IPOD.
According to Emmanuel Dombo of the NRM, they cannot force any party to join the IPOD and hence the terms established by the NIMD are unreasonable.