Leaders from Government and the Opposition met Tuesday at The Office of The Prime Minister, to continue the dialogue aimed at ensuring that the forthcoming elections are peaceful, free, fair and credible.
“Our dialogue is premised on the mutual appreciation that peace, security and stability of our country is a common good that must be jealously guarded by all to sustain our democracy and development,” Ruhakana Rugunda said after the meeting.
The government delegation led by the Prime Minister included; Hon Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence, Mary Karooro Okurut, Minister of Security, Fredrick Ruhindi, Attorney General, James Baba, Minister of State for Internal Affairs, General Katumba Wamala, Chief of Defence Forces, General Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police and Eng Dr Badru Kiggundu, Chairperson, Electoral Commission.
The Opposition Delegation was led by Rt Hon Wafula Oguttu, Leader of Opposition and included Abdu Katuntu, Shadow Attorney General, Hon Fungaroo Kaps and Hon Muwanga Kivumbi, MP.
According to a joint statement, the discussions were conducted in a cordial, candid and respectful manner.
Today’s meeting was a follow up of the first one we held on 23 November 2015, at which a number of Action Points were agreed.
The meeting today, therefore was to take stock of the implementation of those agreed actions.
“We noted with appreciation, that so far, the campaign rallies that have taken place have been conducted in a peaceful manner and we called for upholding of the same spirit.”
“As agreed from our previous meeting, we received from the Attorney General, draft guidelines of a harmonized understanding and interpretation of relevant elements of the Public Order Management Act, with a view to ensuring that a common understanding of the Act is implemented by the Police,” reads the statement.
Both parties reiterated the critical importance of mutual respect, civility and adherence to the rule of law to continue being the hallmark of interactions between and among the Police, Political Leaders, the Public and other stakeholders.
They noted the initiative of Community Policing undertaken by The Police through the Crime Preventers programme, but called on them—Crime Preventers to avoid being partisan in their activities.
“We also agreed that Crime Preventers should only operate in their local communities/villages. It was further agreed that an enabling law should be put in place to guide the implementation of Community Policing including the activities of Crime Preventers.”
They also agreed that no serving army officer should engage in partisan politics and that action should be taken against errant officers.
“Concern was raised about the issue of voter bribery, and called on all candidates to desist from the act. We also called upon the Electoral Commission devise measures to deal with it, to safeguard the integrity of the process and prevent undue influence and pressure on voters and candidates.”
The statement says concern was also raised about media coverage of the electoral process, and called on media houses and journalists to ensure more equitable, balanced, fair and objective coverage of all candidates and political parties.
“We noted that this initiative of Government and Opposition meeting to iron out any issues relating to elections is valuable and agreed to continue it on a regular basis. Our next meeting will be next month.”