On Tuesday 15th May 2018, the Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, launched a handbook on Uganda’s Journey to Democracy. Published by the National Consultative Forum (NCF), the handbook chronicles the history of Uganda’s democratic journey from the colonial period, across the post-independence period, up to the current multiparty democracy environment.
In his launching remarks, Dr Rugunda, who also chairs the NCF, thanked the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) for funding the production of the handbook and expressed optimism that it will contribute to strengthening the pillars of stability, constitutionalism and nationalism in Uganda.
He noted that amongst its various achievements, the NCF has played a critical role in keeping channels of communication open among political actors at different levels in the country. “When channels of communication are open, there is opportunity for bilateral discussions between parties or amongst parties, which eliminates bottlenecks and pressures that, would otherwise cause unnecessary tensions in our country” he said.
Dr Rugunda hinted that soon there will be constitutional discussions to handle provisions that require changes, and underscored that NCF’s role in this process will even be more significant in promoting dialogue and building consensus amongst various political actors.
The NCF’s Secretary, Mr Sam Rwakojo, noted that the launch of the handbook is an opportunity to increase public understanding of the NCF as a critical player in deepening democracy in Uganda. He appreciated DGF’s funding for the production of the handbook as a testimony of a strong partnership between the two institutions. He also recognised earlier support by the DGF including contribution during the launch of NCF in 2012, and sponsorship of NCF delegation to observe Kenya’s General Elections in 2013.
On behalf of the DGF, Mr Frank Kirwan, the Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Irish Embassy and a member of the DGF Steering Committee said that the DGF and its Development Partners are honored to be associated with the handbook. He pointed out that the DGF has been supporting democratic initiatives in Uganda since 2011, and recently launched its second phase (2018-2022). He commended the Government of Uganda for placing democratic governance among the key pillars for Uganda’s Vision 2040. He stressed that DGF’s continued support to both civil society organisations and state institutions is aimed at fostering constructive partnerships and pursuing of common agendas for the good of Uganda’s citizens.
The NCF is an umbrella organisation for all registered political parties and organisations in Uganda, established under Article 71(2) of the Uganda Constitution and operationalised under section 20(4) of the Political Parties and Organisations Act 2005. It is a platform for building consensus and dialogue amongst political parties and organisations.
The DGF supported NCF to print 5,000 copies of the handbook. These will be circulated in all government ministries, Parliament, Judiciary, local governments, embassies, leading libraries, education institutions and media houses, among others, for reference.