By Cornes Lubangakene
President Yoweri Museveni has castigated Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Dr. Kiiza Besigye for boycotting the Inter-party Forum, a platform where national issues are discussed by the different party leaders.
He said this at the burial of Tiberio Okeny Atwoma at Oryang Ojuma village in Kitgum district on Wednesday.
Museveni’s statement followed the Democratic Party (DP) president, Norbert Mao’s call for a forum where top leaders in the country sit and discuss development issues.
“In this jubilee year, national dialogue is important. Through the National Consultative Forum of Political Parties, we endorsed the idea of a national conference. This is because there is need to talk about the different issues affecting the country,” Mao said.
Mao added: “I urge you as the President, to take the advantage of the jubilee year to do things that would even surprise your worst enemy. The young generation will support programmes that unify the country and make the economy work.”
Mao observed that because of lack of such fora, some leaders take advantage of gatherings like funerals, graduations and weddings to make lengthy speeches.
“When you try to talk at a rally, you are dispersed by teargas. Such fora would help,” he added.
“I support Mao’s call that we work together irrespective of our parties. There is a forum I inaugurated in 2006 whereby the then UPC president, Miria Obote and DP’s Ssebbana Kizito came but Besigye boycotted. He has continued to make trouble,” Museveni said.
He added: “The forum has been there since 2006. It has been the opposition, especially Besigye, who has been boycotting it. Jubilee or no jubilee, we are ready to meet the leaders and discuss national issues .”
Museveni said it was unfortunate that a lot of time had been wasted fighting wars in different parts of the country.
He said teargas was the softest way to deal with troublemakers, saying it was not the Government that is bent on using teargas but the trouble makers like Besigye.
Museveni also called on the people of Kitgum to be patient as the Government looks for funds to tarmac the Gulu-Kitgum road.
“That road will be tarmacked. You should not worry. We are already working on the Gulu-Atiak-Nimule road. Our economy is now better,” he added.