Opposition Rekindle Quest for Talks With Museveni

Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Wafula Oguttu

buy geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The ‘peace talks’ had earlier been proposed President Museveni himself at the close of last year, illness as a way of finding remedy to the escalating political tensions, but had since shown no further urge for the roundtable.

Museveni, at a rally in Lwengo district, expressed willingness to talk to the “troublemakers-the opposition” without divulging in much detail about the meeting.

Forum for Democratic change were first to welcome the development and promised Museveni a “loyal opposition” – one that recognised that he won the election and should be allowed to serve till his term expires in 2016.”

After 6 months of staleness, Leader of Opposition Hon Wafula Oguttu has once again expressed readiness by his camp to meet the president.

The dialogue, opposition maintain must not only involve political parties but other stakeholders including civil society, religious leaders, businessmen, women, youths, academia among others, hence a National all-inclusive Dialogue.

In his lengthy response to the recent State of the Nation Address, Oguttu noted that the National consultative dialogue would help bring about consensus on how the county should move forward and also set some “unwritten rules for peace, national unity and a smooth transition”

“This is the best way Uganda can realize a well-functioning democracy in which politicians live in mutual respect and peaceful co-existence,” he said.

“If this is done, public officials will not think of taking bribes, judges will not contemplate giving way to government pressure and politicians will not plan going in exile when they lose power.”

In his speech Oguttu stressed that the responsibility of dialogue largely lied on the President to take the initiative as long “as he agrees to moderation by a neutral, independent mediator(s); or to accept an opposition or civil society initiative as long as it also is inclusive and mediated by an independent person(s).”

He went on, “We sincerely and firmly believe that the time to talk is now, not when the regime is crumbling as the signs of decay and inevitable disintegration are already accelerating and evident to everyone.”

The national dialogue is not the only avenue through which the opposition intend to engage the president.

In their ongoing campaign for free and fair elections, they have organized another National Consultative Meeting in August this year, where they are calling for president Museveni’s input.

At a joint press conference last Monday, the parties reiterated that the conference was intended to create space for all stakeholders’ contributions towards a better national electoral system including that of Museveni and the NRM government.

However, not all opposition members are excited about sitting for talks with the president, and some have openly come out to warn of repercussions.

Waste of time

Kyaddondo East MP, Hon Semujju Nganda, in an interview with Chimpreports distanced himself from the talks, noting that they are only but a waste of time.

“There cannot be such a thing as dialogue between president Museveni and the opposition; we should not lie to ourselves,” said the legislator, also an FDC NEC member.

“I don’t think that Mr. Museveni is in that mood because this man worships power. He wants to die in office.”

He added: “When you go to discuss with him, you are only going to pick concessions on what he will or will not allow. His interest is not a national dialogue, but to probably soften the stand of the opposition.”

Nganda noted that he personally would be reluctant to meet the president except if the talks were strictly on transfer of power from him to someone else.


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