A sharp disagreement has emerged in the Justice Forum (JEEMA) party over this week’s planned summit meeting of the five political parties with representation in Parliament under the Inter-party organization for dialogue (IPOD).
The disagreement stems from statements made by the party’s secretary-general, Muhammad Kateregga at the closure of the IPOD council meeting on Monday at Kabira Country Club near Kampala, pledging the opposition party’s attendance of the 3rd IPOD summit meeting scheduled to be addressed by President Yoweri Museveni at Kololo independence grounds.
As chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Museveni is meant to share a platform with other political party heads at the IPOD summit.
While Museveni and the NRM look forward to the summit as a platform to calm tensions between the ruling establishment and the opposition following the recently concluded chaotic general elections, many opposition leaders feel that this is not the right time to share a table with Museveni.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has already indicated that it will not attend any IPOD meetings until the government has explained the violence that was directed at opposition politicians during the last political campaigns.
The Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), the other parties with MPs in the outgoing Parliament confirmed their attendance of the meeting that NRM secretary-general, Justine Kasule Lumumba said will be under the theme; Dialogue for national cohesion.
As Kateregga joined his colleagues Fred Ebil (UPC), Gerald Blacks Siranda (DP) and Lumumba to confirm the attendance of their respective parties, at the JEEMA headquarters in Mengo, a meeting was going on to denounce the Friday meeting.
The outgoing Bukomansimbi LC-V chairman was to discover later that he was all alone since no other party leader was in concert with him about JEEMA’s attendance of the Kololo meeting.
His deputy, Fredrick Kasajja Kibuuka chaired the meeting at Mengo that denounced the statements he made before the press at Kabira Country Club.
“The statements he [Kateregga] made were his as an individual but he consulted no one within the party. These people who lost an election are thinking about the $100 or $200 facilitation they will get for attending the summit and closed their eyes to the atrocities that are being committed. You can’t go and sit with Museveni when people are being abducted day and night,” a party official who preferred not to be named said.
On Tuesday, Kasajja joined the party’s spokesperson Abdunoor Kyamundu to denounce Kateregga, telling journalists that the party cannot attend the summit meeting at a time when the government has failed to address the wide spread cases of human rights violations.
Kyamundu also said that without an explanation from the government on why some resolutions made at previous summits have not been implemented, it becomes meaningless to go to another meeting with Museveni.
Kasajja accused Kateregga of going against the resolutions of the IPOD council that members should consult their respective parties and agree on what should be discussed in the summit but before JEEMA could sit, he went ahead and made a commitment on behalf of the party.
Lumumba told journalists on Monday that the summit would take stock of the events that characterized the 2021 general elections and also review the resolutions made during the 2018 and 2019 summit meetings to assess progress.