By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni who is also the National Resistance Movement party national chairman has said dialogue is the only solution to Uganda’s problems.
Museveni, who is also the current IPOD chairman today Friday March 5, presided over a summit meeting at independence grounds under the theme “Dialogue for National Cohesion”, and discussed pertinent political issues that arose during and after the recent general elections.
President Museveni while addressing the stakeholders stated that the NRM government had long spotted the political problems of the country and devised solutions.
“Politics is like medicine where you have a doctor who diagnoses the sickness of the patient by looking at the symptoms and carrying out tests. Once the doctor has diagnosed the sickness, he prescribes treatment,” Mr Museveni said.
He added: “Healthy politics is like that. When we were still students, we started a new force. In it, our social-economic diagnosis was eventually captured in the four principles of the NRM. These are patriotism, Pan-Africanism, social-economic development, and democracy. We are always ready to explain and also listen to the explanation of others. Unfortunately, some people have abandoned dialogue.”
The NRM national chairman said unlike many others he fears and listens to the voice of God, noting that in all he does, he follows what God wants him and others to do.
“I always say that if God has given you the power to speak and hear, use it. God doesn’t like it when you don’t use the gifts he has given you. I have seen people end up badly because they haven’t used the gifts God has given them. In 1979 and 1980, we could have used dialogue but people didn’t care about it. Everyone thought they were smart.”
President Museveni noted that as a follower of Jesus and the gospel whenever he sees things not going the right way, he calls upon people for dialogue just like in the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd was interested in the one sheep that went astray and not the 99.
“I am very happy to have attended this summit. We discussed some serious issues, including the issue of the disappearance of people.I know Uganda very well and I think this summit is a good beginning.”
Democratic Party president, Norbert Mao said the IPOD summit was a rare opportunity to find solutions to problems affecting Uganda.
“The spirit required from IPOD members is the spirit to put Uganda first. Violence should be condemned. We should use persuasion rather than coercion. We should look for common ground. We don’t want a situation where all interests are mutually exclusive,” Mao said.
“Governments can come and go but the state needs to be protected. In some countries like Italy, governments are always falling but the state never collapses. IPOD is not about protecting any government. It is about the State. Uganda is the only country we have. We may have a plan B but we don’t have a country B.”
In the same line, UPC president Jimmy Akena urged all Ugandans not to ignore the need to come together for dialogue in case of any differences.”
I urge all my colleagues not to lose sight of the greatest prize of all this. The greatest prize is how we shall leave Uganda. We need to strive towards raising the standards of living for every citizen. Ultimately as UPC, we would like to leave Uganda in a better place. We shall do everything in our power to achieve this. I am all in for dialogue and I hope all our colleagues will join us in this venture,”Akena said.
“Despite some of our colleagues not being present, we have been able to capture concerns and raise all our concerns at this summit. We thank the President for promising to look into the issues we raised.”
The NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba said the IPOD under President Museveni’s chairmanship has agreed to adopt the principle of a multi-stakeholder dialogue on national issues.
“The principle adopted today is aimed at answering political questions lingering among Ugandan as the elders forum and other platforms handle the sematic areas as agreed before,” Lumumba said.
IPOD was formed in 2010 by the political parties represented in parliament. Its mandated to consolidate multi-party democracy through dialogue.