IPOD: Political party funding to increase to Shs 35bn

Members of the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) Summit have resolved that funding to Political Parties with representation in Parliament be increased from the current Shs 10 billion to Shs 35 billion in the financial year 2019/2020.

According to IPOD Chairperson Nobert Mao, the parties agreed during the summit held last night that at least 15 per cent of the funding from the government, be allocated to the IPOD secretariat to intensify the quest for dialogue amongst political players in the country.

The summit brings together leaders and Secretary Generals of political parties, with representation in Parliament. It was attended by four of the five political parties with representation in Parliament, among them Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Democratic Party (DP) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) boycotted the meeting.

Mao said that the participating members adopted formula for sharing the funds which will see 40 per cent of the remaining funds go to the office of the leader of opposition while 60 per cent of the funds will be shared based on the numerical strength of each of the political parties in parliament.

The Summit also considered and adopted a draft of the Public Order Management regulations proposed by the IPOD council led by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

It is anticipated that the regulations will end disagreements between the Police and Political actors on the implementation of the Public Order Management Act.

The law has been a basis of clashes in recent years between security agencies and politicians. Although some say it mandates them to simply notify the police, others say that police permission is required for any political activity to take place.

Museveni on arrival for the summit last evening

The summit recognized that the absence of regulations has led to the harassment of Political activists by security agencies across the country. The summit agreed that the draft regulations proposed by the IPOD council be studied by the National Security Council and later be adopted by Parliament in not more than two months.

Meanwhile, the summit agreed that the government intensifies the drafting of electoral reforms and table them before parliament for enactment. The reforms will among others see the regulation of independent candidates vying for political positions across the country.

The summit agreed that in the reforms, candidates sponsored by Political parties will not be required to collect signatures from electoral areas for representation. Also, nomination fees for all candidates shall be reviewed so as to make vying for Political offices affordable.

The IPOD council is also expected to determine the threshold of the amount refunded to a candidate in case they lose elections while the Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Local Governments are tasked with the creation of new electoral units in the different localities across the country.

President Museveni, who is also the National Chairperson of the National Resistance Movement-NRM Party, said he is committed to dialogue for the good of the country.

Museveni also asked opposition politicians to also engage in building and developing communities instead of mobilizing them against all government programs.

“You can do a lot to change the lives of your people even when in opposition. I did a lot to transform the people of Ankole in the years when I was in opposition as a member of the Democratic Party. I persuaded people to stop nomadism and go to commercial agriculture from subsistence farming. I was reported to the UPC government that I was misleading people to fence farms. But I explained myself to Vice President John Babiha, who gave me a go-ahead,” Museveni said.

The first summit was held at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort on December 12, 2018.