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Besigye denies religious leaders neutral role on political dialogue

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, February 21, 2016. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, February 21, 2016. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Opposition leader and former presidential candidate of the FDC says that concerning matters of “justice, peace and national security”, religious leaders should not consider playing a neutral role.

His statements follow reported arrangements by Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) in combined efforts with the Elders Forum to have a dialogue between the ruling NRM government and the Opposition in October.

As reported, Besigye says that if the religious leaders and elders are keen to being part of the organizers of the dialogue, they have to engage with the four key issues including having a mutually agreed agenda, an agreement on who convenes and moderates the dialogue, who will be part of the dialogue and a clear understanding of how the decisions of the dialogue will be implemented.

“In my interactions with them [religious leaders and elders], I appealed to them to take a position on what is happening in the country and therefore in the dialogue that is envisaged, I appeal to them to be an interested stakeholder. They must be seated on the table amongst other stakeholders. They can’t be a neutral party, organising and moderating and having no view in what is taking place on the table,” Dr Besigye said yesterday, during a press briefing at his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District.

Unlike the former presidential debates where Clerics invited candidates to come and debate, Besigye says that Political dialogue is “far more complex, a far more serious issue that a lot of ground work must be undertaken before dialogue takes place”.

Joshua Kitakule, Secretary General of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda told the Daily Monitor that they are not moderating but facilitating the dialogue process.

He was additionally quick to note that: “If you look around the country, which other parties will lead this? Who has the capacity to convene? It is the religious leaders,”

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