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PAFO, Reform plan merger

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th July 2004 03:00 AM

Reform Agenda (RA) and the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) are holding merger talks, sources within the pressure groups have said

Reform Agenda (RA) and the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) are holding merger talks, sources within the pressure groups have said

By Felix Osike

Reform Agenda (RA) and the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) are holding merger talks, sources within the pressure groups have said.

The sources said PAFO and RA leaders recently met in Johannesburg, South Africa, and discussed how to form a coalition. They also discussed how to harmonise their vision and programmes. The merger is
expected to come into effect next month, the sources said.

RA chairman Col. Dr Kizza Besigye, living in exile in South Africa, reportedly chaired the meeting on June 19, to which PAFO chairman Augustine Ruzindana led a team. Present were Jack Sabiti (Rukiga, PAFO treasurer), Dr. Chris Kibuuka (the RA external coordinator), Reagan Okumu (RA first vice-chairman) and James Garuga Musinguzi (RA secretary for economic affairs).

Besigye, a former Movement political commissar, was the runner-up in the 2001 presidential elections. Ruzindana, a former Movement die-hard and Inspector General of Government, leads Movement supporters opposed to the third term for President Yoweri Museveni.

Ruzindana did not answer his telephone when contacted at 11:00am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm and 4.30pm.

Okumu (Aswa) said he was not aware of the meetings but added that there was nothing wrong with forming a coalition.
“Reform Agenda has been talking to many Ugandans since the 2001 elections to educate them on the derailment of the democratisation process by the Movement and by President Museveni,” said Okumu.

At the South Africa meeting, Besigye and Ruzindana talked about the political situation in Uganda. The meeting noted that both political groups had a similar agenda to bring about a new political dispensation in Uganda.

The parties agreed that a meticulous organisational structure, internal rules and constitution for the merger be put in place.

It agreed that PAFO would remain active in Parliament to hold the opposition MPs together as the merger takes shape. Its membership will be open to all opposition politicians, the sources said.

RA and PAFO will each name four representatives to a committee to draft the merger documents. The committee was mandated to co-opt any persons they consider of great help. The committee is to produce a report on all pertinent issues by July 20 to the chairmen of the two camps before another meeting later this month.

The Johannesburg meeting reportedly said the Movement leadership had deviated from its original principles because of dictatorship, corruption, insecurity and the misuse of the army. It agreed that these developments needed to be reversed collectively, by all pro-democracy forces.

The meeting noted the increased opposition to the Movement government though its impact was little because of poor coordination. The leaders said the political forces needed to unite and come to a consensus on how to defeat the Movement.

It noted that creating the coalition would be gradual and that some groups could merge now without losing sight of the coalition process with all other opposition forces.

Since the Johannesburg meeting,
Okumu has reportedly met PAFO
and other ra members. Sources said this could be the reason why the RA delegates’ conference, scheduled for this month, was postponed.

Meanwhile, Atanasio Rutaroh, Joyce Sebugwawo, Ruzindana, Okullo Epak, Wandera Ogallo, Wagonda Muguli, David Pulkol and Mugisha Muntu had a week-long residential meeting at Ridar Hotel in Seeta between June 30 and July 7.

The team met again on July 10, at Namirembe Guest House.

PAFO, Reform plan merger

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