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Wednesday,October 23,2019 06:17 AM

Govt okays national dialogue

By David Lumu

Added 15th August 2018 04:40 PM

Ofwono expressed concern about the selection of participants to present views during the proposed new national dialogue conference.

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Ofwono expressed concern about the selection of participants to present views during the proposed new national dialogue conference.

Government has agreed to a proposal by various actors that a national dialogue be held to address the emerging political contradictions and other related unsettled key issues across the country.

“Government has been working towards creating a consensus with citizens,” Ofwono Opondo, the Government spokesperson, said on Wednesday.

Ofwono was speaking at the launch of a new book titled, ‘A People’s Dialogue: Political Settlements in Uganda and the Quest for National Conference,’ at Protea Hotel.

The book was written by Makerere University law don, Prof. Fredrick Jjuuko, and Prof. Sam Tindifa.

In the book, Jjuuko calls for a national dialogue, saying it will help the country heal the long standing wounds that citizens have suffered over time.

“National dialogue should be the way forward,” Jjuuko said, emphasising that elections are not a mechanism for the democratisation of Uganda.

However, Ofwono expressed concern about the selection of participants to present views during the proposed new national dialogue conference.

“This Government has been working towards creating a consensus with citizens. Prof. Jjuuko talks strongly about national dialogue, which we have always done by this country. There is no way the State has failed, thereof,” he said.

Prof. Jjuuko’s call for national dialogue comes at a time when efforts are under way to bring all political actors on a talking point.  The national dialogue efforts are organised and led by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

Recently, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, met leaders from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), led by the party’s president, Patrick Amuriat Oboi, and agreed on the road map for the national dialogue.

Speaking in Parliament this week on Tuesday during debate on the recent Arua election violence that saw one person, Yassin kawuma killed, Stephen Biraahwa Mukitale, the Buliisa County MP, said the growing violent political contestations in the country, indicate that the country is ripe for a national dialogue.

But Ofwono said the concept of national dialogue is not entirely a new proposal.

“There has always been national dialogue. This concept is not new in Uganda, staring from 1900, 1928, 1960, UPC and Kabaka Yekka dialogue, Amin’s eight program, the move to the left dialogue, cultural dialogues and the Common Man’s charter,” he said.

Ofwono added: “For the last 30 years, this government has been having structure for dialogue. What prof. Jjuuko should have suggested in his book is how challenges should be solved to move the country forward.”

In his book, Jjuuko argues that the main reason for dialogue is the fact that the country and state are dysfunctional.

But Ofwono told Jjuuko that if the state was not functional, he would not be in position to launch the book.

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