By Stephen Kalema
The Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) has welcomed back Justice Forum (Jeema) party.
Founded in 2009, IPOD is a platform for dialogue of parliamentary political parties in Uganda.
The reinstatement follows Jeema leader Asuman Basalirwa’s victory in the Bugiri Municipality by-election.
However, Jeema’s welcome party came at a time when other IPOD members are not satisfied with the way the the ruling party – the National Resistance Movement – NRM, is treating other members by denying them favorable political grounds, torture and indiscriminate arrests.
According to Democratic Party president general, Norbert Mao, who welcomed back Jeema, the current political ground is uneven because of NRM’s uncanny tactics.
“No one is happier than DP and UPC to see Jeema back in IPOD. However, we have a problem in IPOD. NRM is a member of IPOD but it is the immediate enemy we have. NRM has deliberately disowned IPOD resolutions,” Mao said.
“We agree on things like respect of the Constitution but the NRM has used money and a poor Parliament to play syndicate in our Constitution.”
According to Mao NRM has birthed the wave of political disrespect which has made it impossible for other parties to participate on neutral grounds.
Mao also wandered why all the heads of member political parties have never sat on the same round table to discuss the discrepancies between the ruling party and those in opposition in the spirit of IPOD. Basalirwa was absent.
According to a member of Jeema, their return to IPOD is one way of demonstrating democracy.
“When we lost our parliamentary seat in 2016 elections, we had to leave the IPOD because we had no members in Parliament and that’s democracy we all advocate for,” he told Watchdog Uganda.
According to Jeema secretary general, Hadijah Babirye, Basalirwa had special duties to attend to.
The absence of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) also left a wave of unanswered questions.
According to the IPOD chairman, Fred Ebil FDC has not always attended their meetings because ‘they think they are always caught up with duties.’
Efforts to to speak to FDC spokesman were futile since his known numbers were off.
Meanwhile, IPOD executive Secretary Frank N. Rusa, appreciated JEEMA’s step to return to IPOD.
“Since the IPOD platform is a safe platform to promote important and honesty discussions between political parties at highest levels, a political party like Jeema, coming back with a unique perspective to national issue is much welcome addition to this platform,” Rusa said.