A CALL FOR FAST-TRACKING THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE PROCESS

PRESS RELEASE

How do we redeem the tarnished image of Parliament and restore its sanctity?

As religious leaders, we wish to express our consternation at the drama that happened in and around Parliament on the days of 26 and 27 September 2017, when Members of Parliament supporting and opposing the removal of the Presidential age limit (Article 102[b]) failed to reach a mutual compromise and resorted to a physical fight.

This press statement is a follow-up to the one recently issued on the subject of the removal of the presidential age limit where we appealed to subject the matter to a wider national dialogue process “Appeal to Approach the Age Limit Debate with National and Non-partisan Lenses and necessary Consultations: For God and Our Country”

We wish to condemn the desecration of the sanctity of the institution of Parliament on two counts: (i) surrounding the August House with security forces and (ii) turning the same into a battle ground between the antagonistic parties. These events led to a series of demonstrations in several places in the country, such as Kamuli, Masaka, Lira, Iganga, and Makerere and Kayambogo universities.

Likewise we wish to condemn the unprecedented bias and excessive use of force demonstrated by the security forces while handling demonstrators against the removal of term limits.

With hindsight, the events that unfolded in our Parliament were, to a lesser degree, reminiscent of the sad episode in 1966 when the 1962 Independence Constitution was abrogated and replaced by its one man-made counterpart.

In the same manner, Parliament was put under siege by the security forces with the sole purpose of intimidating MPs and hence influence their actions. The essence of the Preamble of the 1995 Constitution was to remind Ugandans of these turbulent moments in our political history. The wise framers of the Constitution (1995) were, therefore, cognizant of this dark chapter when they introduced safeguards to avoid its repeat.

We wish to reiterate our previous stance that the issue of removing age limit- and other equally contentious issues- should be resolved through a national dialogue. That our honourable Members of Parliament failed to amicably and objectively debate and resolve the matter is indicative of the increasing depth of polarisation between the NRM and opposition political actors. It is against this backdrop that we, therefore, call upon government and Working Group of Six, of which IRCU is a member, to fast-track the proposed National Dialogue process.

The process provides Ugandans, in all their diversity, with a platform to adaptively address root causes of conflict and governance challenges, and agree on a shared transformative and development agenda that accelerates the consolidation of peace and justice, sustainable development and shared prosperity.

In view of the prevailing situation in the country, we hereby make the following recommendations:
• Call upon government, the opposition and other key stakeholders to support the fast-tracking of the national dialogue process to address the current governance challenges
• Call upon all MPs (NRM and opposition) to debate with civility; honour and respect one another as well as the national motto: For God and my country.
• Security forces should value and respect the rights of Ugandans and handle them with dignity
• Remove security forces from the precincts of Parliament.
• Appeal to the Speaker of Parliament to remain sober and handle the issue of age limit through non-partisan lenses.

For God and My Country!

Signed:

His Eminence, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje
Grand MUFTI OF UGANDA
CHAIRPERSON, COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF UGANDA

A CALL FOR FAST-TRACKING THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE PROCESS

PRESS RELEASE

How do we redeem the tarnished image of Parliament and restore its sanctity?

As religious leaders, we wish to express our consternation at the drama that happened in and around Parliament on the days of 26 and 27 September 2017, when Members of Parliament supporting and opposing the removal of the Presidential age limit (Article 102[b]) failed to reach a mutual compromise and resorted to a physical fight.

This press statement is a follow-up to the one recently issued on the subject of the removal of the presidential age limit where we appealed to subject the matter to a wider national dialogue process “Appeal to Approach the Age Limit Debate with National and Non-partisan Lenses and necessary Consultations: For God and Our Country”

We wish to condemn the desecration of the sanctity of the institution of Parliament on two counts: (i) surrounding the August House with security forces and (ii) turning the same into a battle ground between the antagonistic parties. These events led to a series of demonstrations in several places in the country, such as Kamuli, Masaka, Lira, Iganga, and Makerere and Kayambogo universities.

Likewise we wish to condemn the unprecedented bias and excessive use of force demonstrated by the security forces while handling demonstrators against the removal of term limits.

With hindsight, the events that unfolded in our Parliament were, to a lesser degree, reminiscent of the sad episode in 1966 when the 1962 Independence Constitution was abrogated and replaced by its one man-made counterpart.

In the same manner, Parliament was put under siege by the security forces with the sole purpose of intimidating MPs and hence influence their actions. The essence of the Preamble of the 1995 Constitution was to remind Ugandans of these turbulent moments in our political history. The wise framers of the Constitution (1995) were, therefore, cognizant of this dark chapter when they introduced safeguards to avoid its repeat.

We wish to reiterate our previous stance that the issue of removing age limit- and other equally contentious issues- should be resolved through a national dialogue. That our honourable Members of Parliament failed to amicably and objectively debate and resolve the matter is indicative of the increasing depth of polarisation between the NRM and opposition political actors. It is against this backdrop that we, therefore, call upon government and Working Group of Six, of which IRCU is a member, to fast-track the proposed National Dialogue process.

The process provides Ugandans, in all their diversity, with a platform to adaptively address root causes of conflict and governance challenges, and agree on a shared transformative and development agenda that accelerates the consolidation of peace and justice, sustainable development and shared prosperity.

In view of the prevailing situation in the country, we hereby make the following recommendations:
• Call upon government, the opposition and other key stakeholders to support the fast-tracking of the national dialogue process to address the current governance challenges
• Call upon all MPs (NRM and opposition) to debate with civility; honour and respect one another as well as the national motto: For God and my country.
• Security forces should value and respect the rights of Ugandans and handle them with dignity
• Remove security forces from the precincts of Parliament.
• Appeal to the Speaker of Parliament to remain sober and handle the issue of age limit through non-partisan lenses.

For God and My Country!

Signed:

His Eminence, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje
Grand MUFTI OF UGANDA
CHAIRPERSON, COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF UGANDA