Uganda National Dialogue Process

Creating and strengthening impartiality and independent spaces for dialogue and conciliation

IRCU builds on the achievements of its interventions during the 2011 and 2016 presidential elections to minimize the potential for violent political conflict. It has intensified prayer for the peace in the country and as the guardian for the common good. Working in close collaboration with the Council of Elders, IRCU has provided independent and safe spaces for dialogue and conciliation and seek every opportunity to address political candidates on the challenges along the way before, during and after the elections. IRCU continues to be the voice of the nation on political and election reforms, critical for the consolidation of good and democratic governance and continuance of peaceful and harmonious co-existence.

Nurturing integrity, building peace, justice and good governance and popularizing shared vision and values.

IRCU continues to nurture integrity and popularize the shared vision and values to make Uganda a truly God-fearing country. In particular, it has identified and strongly advocated around the main challenges that undermine integrity such as lack of an effective social security system that compromises people that would model these values because they are under pressure to look to the state for their survival.

What is the Uganda National Dialogue?

The Uganda National Dialogue is both a platform and process. As a platform, the Dialogue is built as an all-inclusive, citizen owned non-partisan process. This process is superintended over by seven Ugandan institutions.  However, these institutions are mere shepherds of the process with the mandate to ensure that the agenda and the modalities set out in this framework and reflective of the views of majority Ugandans are adhered to and promoted throughout the process. Consequently, the structures and accountability mechanisms set out in this framework paper are all designed to ensure that Ugandan citizens own the process, participate in reaching a common consensus and take full responsibility for implementing the decisions and agreed outcomes from the Dialogue.

As a process, the UND is a structured mechanism through which citizens reassert citizen agency and citizen sovereignty as enshrined in Article 1 of our Nation’s Constitution. The Dialogue represents our collective commitment to take responsibility for shaping the future of our country. The process enables us to continuously dialogue with each other to reach a consensus on fundamental and sometimes contentious issues that are important for the governance, development and transformation of our country. The UND provides us an opportunity to develop citizen-centered structured mechanism through which we can hold ourselves and our leaders accountable for the transformation of our country.

Vision: A just, and morally upright society founded on socio-economic justice, shared prosperity, popular governance and respect for the rule of law.

Goal: To agree on a new national consensus to consolidate peace, democracy and inclusive development to achieve equal opportunity for all.

Purpose: Provide a mechanism where Ugandan citizens in our diversity can engage with government and with each other on issues of national transformation that promote national unity, shared prosperity and the common good. 

The Constitutional Basis of the UND Process.

The dialogue is rooted in our Nation’s constitutional history, constitutional culture and evolving constitutional practice as evidenced by efforts over the last half a century of independence.

Half a century of constitutional instability [1969; 1971; 1979; 1980;1986; 1996; 2005; 2017]
The shift to a culture of citizen consultations pursued through technocratic constitutional commissions or constitutional review processes.

The re-establishment of citizen sovereignty through the preamble to the 1995 constitution “WE THE PEOPLE” and the declaration in Article 1: “Power belongs to the people”.

The alternative pathway of election has only generated deep contestation, violence and monetized elections which has severely undermined the electoral process and its outcomes.

The limitations of existing constitutional and informal platforms such as Parliament, NCF, IPOD, etc make a national dialogue the alternative pathway to the future. 

5 Reason why a national dialogue is our pathway to the future

  • Competing alternative narratives about the present and the future of our country.
  • More than half a century of political instability and violence.
  • More than 3 decades of contested elections, election violence and increasing monetization of the electoral process.
  • Emerging fault lines that continue to divide us rather than building a united strong nation.
  • Incomplete economic, democratic and political transitions.

National Dialogue Agenda

  1. A national values consensus.
  2. A national diversity consensus.
  3. A national consensus on land, land justice and access to natural resources.
  4. A national consensus on minimum standards of public service delivery.
  5. A national consensus on the structure of the economy that works for every citizen.
  6. A consensus on constitutionalism and the rule of law.
  7. A national political consensus.
  8. A national consensus on implementation modalities.

Participation

The cardinal principle governing participation in the Uganda National Dialogue Process is to ensure that as many segments of the Ugandan society as possible are represented in the various aspects of the process. The design of the process is premised on the fundamental belief that our diversity is an asset rather than a problem. Consequently, representation must reflect our gender, ethnic, political, demographic and other forms of diversity that characterize our society.

Secondly, for practical purposes, representation must take into account the administration aspects of the process. This implies that each of the identified segments will be represented in selected foras of the dialogue by a pre-determined number of delegates or representatives. Where participation is by representation, the selected representatives are not participating primarily to defend the entrenched positions of their segments or interest groups, but rather to ensure that the dialogue process generates a national consensus that reflects our collective national interests and aspirations.

Where any aspect of the dialogue is conducted in an open forum, specific and open invitations will be sent out to all the stakeholder groups described in this framework paper. Where the participation is by invitation and accreditation, the following formulae will be used to achieve equity in representation and participation.

This Programme is poised to address persistent challenges in Peace, Security, and Systems Resilience in Uganda that manifest themselves as: inter-communal and cross border conflicts including regional spillover effects from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, DRC and Somalia; organized crimes; trafficking of persons; and terrorism and violent extremism. The immediate and underlying causes identified as: unaddressed legacies of war in Northern Uganda and Ruwenzori sub-regions; youth unemployment; land seizing linked to discovery of oil and other extractives; unplanned and fast urbanizing; high frequency of natural disasters; proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons; and political squabbles.

In order to address the above challenges, the Programme is targeted at addressing response gaps in: policy and legal framework for peace building, security and system resilience; capacity for implementation of national policies, regional continental and global protocols and instruments; and create conditions for effective and sustained operationalization at the Local Government level of strategies for community resilience building and inclusive participation and engagement of district-level stakeholders (Communities, NGOs, CBOs, Private Sector) in peace building processes that adequately leverage the potentials of women and youth networks.

The Programme is supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through a Transformational Development Approach (TDA) where it supports the relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other Responsible Partners.

This Programme seeks to contribute to building of a solid foundation for rapid and sustainable progress towards the realization of all Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda.

Contributing Outcome (United Nations Development Assistance Framework)

By end of 202, Uganda enjoys sustainable peace and security, underpinned by resilient institutional systems that are effective and efficient in preventing and responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Specific IRCU Output

Under this Programme, IRCU seeks to contribute towards enhancing capacities to effectively include women and youth in peace building by 2020.

 

Activities

  • Civic education (focusing on training the women and youth leaders to roll out civic empowerment education using the faith based structures and spaces around the churches and mosques.
  • Re-constituting and capacity building for peace and stability regional structures for dialogue and consensus building.