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By Andrew Baba

Opposition parties in the country have turned down the invitation by the regime for the Namboole NRM summit that kicks off today. While appearing on the 89.2 CBS’ political talk show known as “kiriza oba gaana”, the NRM Secretary General Rt. Hon. Justine Kasule Lumumba informed the country that the party had chosen to invite all the other political parties in the IPOD league for their mega summit at Namboole. The invited guests in question are Party Presidents /Chairpersons from the UPC, DP, FDC, CP and JEEMA.

By the close of yesterday, one day to the summit however, only the UPC and JEEMA could confirm receipt of the said invitations. In a phone interview with Harold Kaija the FDC Deputy Secretary General, it was revealed that they were hearing the invitation from the press but no such had been received at the party headquarters. He however disclosed that the party would still not honor the invitation had they got it because he doesn’t really see any reason that would bring them to visit the NRM function even in an observer capacity. The treatment that they are being subjected to doesn’t depict any spirit of peaceful coexistence which would have been the most viable reason for them to go to Namboole.

The former Kampala central MP aspirant used the example of what had just happened to his party boss Dr. Kizza Besigye in Jinja which according to him depicts a bad neighbor who doesn’t wish good for others. ” It would be appropriate for us to attend if at all there was a possibility of us also to organize and invite them (NRM) as well, but where it’s a one-way business, then it’s not applicable, “the eloquent FDC stalwart reasoned.

The position shared by Fred Mwesigwa, the press secretary to DP’s Nobert Mao was not different from that of Kaija. Although he too maintains that no invitation has been received by his party, he sees no ground for the meeting as the brotherly relationship which the IPOD umbrella was meant to facilitate is nonexistent. It is therefore a waste of time for opposition to honor the invite under the harsh political atmosphere subjected to them by the regime.

He pointed out the example of Dr Besigye who had been recently brutalized in Jinja and Hon.Kyagulanyi for just carrying out party activities. Mwesigwa challenged the Lumumba to first publish the police clearance for the event so they can be sure that they will be safe from the brutality of the security forces as it’s been one of the requirements they have always demanded from the opposition this concluded that it would be insane for any members of the opposition to attend the Namboole summit.

But the UPC remains divided over whether to attend or not. Whereas the Akena faction insists there is nothing wrong with the UPC attending the conference, Mr. Peter Walubiri described the action as being regrettable. The UPC Secretary General Hon Ebil Fred Ebil says that since the attendance will be just as observers for the opening ceremony, they should be guided by their relationship in the IPOD do as to promote a peaceful coexistence. Although Walubiri, who also remains one of the most important leaders of the Akena rival faction feels this will be absolute betrayal to the spirit of the party’s founding fathers Dr. Milton Obote, Ebil seems to suggest that it’s Walubiri who doesn’t understand the spirit of Obote since UPC came to power in the 60s largely out of his outstanding belief and willingness to dialogue.

JEEMA’s Abdul Noor Kyamundhu did not sound different as well, in a phone interview with Mulengera, the very eloquent party spokesperson expressed his pessimism about the invite, describing it as one of the many techniques that President Museveni uses to hoodwink the public. He says that the regime is acting in panic due to the pressure exerted by the energized forces of Ugandans seeking for change. He is trying to use the occasion to make the NRM look like a political party which in the actual sense it isn’t. Museven’s political party is the UPDF, Uganda Police Bank of Uganda,” Kyamundhu emphasized. He added that Museveni is trying to procure legitimacy especially before the international community which has largely been bruised by the regime’s persecution of the opposition.

People power’s Joel Senyonyi, as expected didn’t hide his contempt for the invitation. Whereas they had not been invited for the event, the youthful spokesperson outrightly ruled out any possibility of sitting on the same table with the regime which had tormented its Nationals with impunity. According to Senyonyi expects nothing less than a discussion about legitimizing Museven’s sole candidature as it has always been topping the agenda each time the such meetings have been convened.

Although many had seen this as an opportunity for the start of a new political age where the opposition and the ruling government would seat on one table to dialogue about portent issues that affect their Nationals, the news about the collapse of the endeavor won’t sound musical in the ears of many hopefuls. The delicate relationship between the government and opposition players makes it complicated as opined by many of them in our interviews with them. Whether this gesture from the opposition will injure the image of the ruling government before the international dignitaries expected to attend the function remains to be seen. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0708575932).




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