FDC spokesman John Kikonyogo
FDC spokesman John Kikonyogo

?Various groups of Uganda citizens have come up with proposals they want. What is now left is for the President to respond to the justified demands,? FDC spokesperson John Kikonyogo said Monday.

FDC spokesman John Kikonyogo
FDC spokesman John Kikonyogo

He expressed disappointment that government has not yet officially responded to the proposals from the various stakeholders.

?President Museveni and NRM leaders were invited to be part of the national dialogue on free and fair elections but they shunned it and claimed they had not been invited. Let President Museveni initiate a meeting with the opposition to generate consensus before Cabinet sends the Bills to Parliament,? Kikonyogo suggested.

He advised the President to make use of the constitutional Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue and to also involve religious leaders in having principled talks with the opposition and the civil society for the good of the country.

?Many countries including Uganda in the past have been embroiled in deadly political conflicts resulting into the death of thousands of people as a result of elections not deemed to be free and fair. President Museveni himself waged a war that left thousands dead because of the rigged elections of 1980. But 29 years in power, he is yet to do what took him to the bush,? Kikonyogo argued.

During a meeting for opposition, civil society and religious leaders last week at Hotel Africana, the consortium also resolved to seek a meeting with President Museveni and other NRM leaders to have dialogue on the reforms.

UPC?s Dr. Olara Otunnu has also several times requested President Museveni to have a dialogue with the opposition on the necessary constitutional reforms.

One week ago during an IPOD meeting at Royal Suites in Bugolobi, Otunnu said, ?We are even ready to have a meeting with President Museveni to have dialogue on the proposed reforms. But it should be clear that the meeting should be principled with a clear agenda not just for a photo opportunity.?

Kikonyogo expressed dismay that the executive did not brief the NRM parliamentary caucus on the reforms they intend to take to Parliament.

?The NRM Kyankwanzi retreat is annual. The next one will take place next year after elections. It therefore shocked to us that in last week?s retreat, government did not discuss with the NRM MPs the Bills they plan to take to Parliament. It seems the executive is deliberately keeping both the NRM and opposition MPs in darkness about the reforms,? Kikonyogo said.

Lamenting that preparations for the 2016 elections are getting behind schedule, Kikonyogo urged the Electoral Commission to start updating the voters register and to carry out voter education using the existing laws.

Last week the EC chairman Dr. Badru KIggundu said they will only update the voters? register and carry out voter education after new electoral laws have been enacted.

On the commemoration of Bishop Janan Luwum, Kikonyogo appealed to Uganda?s religious leaders to always speak out against the evils of political leaders as Luwum did during the Idi Amini era.

Citizens? Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) country coordinator Crispy Kaheru supported FDC?s call for dialogue with Museveni on the reforms.

?The success of the reform process as I have earlier mentioned will require the protagonists, the moderates and those who hold alternative persuasions to seat together and achieve consensus on the key reforms necessary to beget the kind of democracy that the country aspires for,? he elaborated.

Kaheru explained that experiences from many other countries that have successfully reformed indicate that it is not a one man or one party show to cause reforms but rather a collective process that enlists the honest participation of the political party in government.

Moses Mulondo, The New Vision

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