By Stephen Kalema

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has cautioned Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) to avoid politicking if the upcoming National Dialogue is to benefit Ugandans.

Speaking to the organizers of the dialogue, led by Justice James Egoola  Parliament, Oulanyah said they ought to ‘come out clean’ and ‘set rules of the game’.
“Discussions of this nature tend to draw questions that first of all need to be answered if it is to become a success so please don’t politicize this beautiful move as it has  always been the case and that it should not undermine the supremacy of the constitution,” Oulanyah cautioned.
The National Dialogue is due to be launched on November 21, 2018.
“Considering our past, we need to be careful about this dialogue. Rules are set before the game, not during the game. So we need to go for dialogue when we know about the rules of the game. Remember a nation that keeps both eyes in the past is a dead one, but a nation that keeps one eye in the past and another in the future will survive. So given our past, we don’t want our past to be our future,” Oulanyah added.
According to Oulanyah discussions of such nature draw a lot of questions;
“Is it a formal process? And if so how is it housed in the Constitution? And if it is not formal then how will it be outside the frameworks of the Constitution?”
Justice Ogoola said Ugandans should appreciate the need for a national dialogue and IRCU has identified areas that will be handled which include; national consensus on economic reforms, harnessing the diversity in Uganda, core shared national values, national consensus on land and natural resources, service delivery, political commitment, and constitutionalism and rule of law.
Ogoola however also told Oulanyah that dialogue is a continuous process that intends to birth peace amidst anguished hearts.
“Dialogue process is critical to this country. The dialogue will add value and bring unity, peace and prosperity where all Ugandans leave in harmony, however the national dialogue paper framework is still being revised,” said Ogoola.
Ogoola’s meeting with  Oulanyah – the second visit to Parliament- comes after the Democratic Party decided to pull out of the dialogue saying they cannnot talk with a ‘lawless government’.
“We cannot pretend to be having a dialogue when the government is lawless. We are not satisfied with the framework proposed and the environment in which the dialogue will be convened,” DP president Norbert Mao said.

When contacted, Mao maintained  the DP stand of last week and said “We cannot sit at a round table with government which is intolerant and continuously torturing and brutalizing Ugandans. It upon Ogoola and team  now to dialogue with Museveni but we as a political party DP can’t.”