KAMPALA — The National Resistance Movement-NRM party has signed a working cooperation agreement with the Democratic Party-DP at State House, Entebbe.
President Yoweri Museveni, also the National chairman of NRM signed on behalf of the party, while Nobert Mao, signed on behalf of DP which he leads as President General.
According to a press release by the Presidential Press Unit, NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong and Gerald Siranda of DP, witnessed the signing.
Speaking after the signing, Museveni congratulated Mao upon agreeing to work on steering DP to work with the NRM. He noted that this is something that should have happened at the top administrative level long ago.
“You know the history. I keep telling you that DP without Museveni is not a serious group because I was a very active member of DP,” Museveni said and added that he was very happy with this milestone. He said that although DP has been supporting opposition, they have been friendly and not destructive.
On his part, Mao appreciated the milestone on behalf of his party, saying that this is a continuous journey which started before some of them were born. He told Museveni that he now has the historical opportunity to gather party members scattered all over Uganda.
“You must look for them wherever they are in all the political parties and in all the corners of Uganda,” Mao said. He said that DP is committed to adhering to what has been agreed upon.
“This is a living document. It has to continue growing and we have signed it in a good faith,” Mao said adding that documents signed show that they have managed to resolve the contradictions that they have been having.
He saluted the courage President Museveni exhibited all through and the risks he has taken saying that he is the captain of the ship called Uganda and that it is important to pray for him as he leads.
It is not yet clear what is contained in the signed memorandum. DP, Uganda’s oldest political party joins Uganda People’s Congress to agree to work with the ruling NRM
See full agreement below
THIS COOPERATION AGREEMENT is entered into by and between THE NATIONAL RESISTANCE MOVEMENT of Plot 10 Kyadondo Road, P.O. Box Kampala and THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY of Plot 2/3 William Street, P.O. Box Kampala (collectively referred to herein after as the parties). The signatories herein warrant their full authority from theirrespective entities to append their signatures and that cooperation agreement binds the principals and their entities.
By accepting this Agreement, it is recognized to be the duty of the Parties to cooperate in good faith and fully with each other, both individually and collectively, for the advancement of the purposes of this Agreement and in accordance with the terms herein below.
The Parties confirm their commitment to a strong, cohesive, united and inclusive Uganda. The parties reaffirm their beliefthat these values are a necessary prerequisite for social, politicaland economic success and stability of Uganda.
The parties seek to work for a nation that provides freedom and security for all its citizens, fulfils its sovereign duties, provides the necessary inspiration and ensures that society is free, fair and inclusive.
Likewise, the Parties consider a fundamental aspect of this Agreement to be their commitment to the established bases for relations between themselves, which are centered on equality, reciprocity and mutual respect.
The parties recommit to the respect for and the promotion of democratic principles, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms as laid down in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and in the core international human-rights instruments and their optional protocols which are applicable to Uganda, and respect for the rule of law constitute an essential element of this Agreement.
The Parties commit to seeking a national consensus through an inclusive national dialogue process, redressing accountabilitygaps and other important national priorities determined in accordance with the cooperation agreement or through subsequent mutual agreements.
The parties commit to working in the best interests of Uganda and Ugandans, working to honour the national motto For God and My Country, and building and maintaining public confidence in the integrity of governance processes.
The Parties agree that the objectives of this Agreement are to:
▪ consolidate and strengthen existing constructive and enduring working relationship between the Parties in the areas of political dialogue, justice, rule of law and constitutionalism on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity, common interest and respect for the sovereignty and independence of the Parties.
▪ provide a comprehensive framework for promotingunderstanding, encouraging contact, results oriented dialogue and cooperation.
▪ strengthen political relations and promote exchanges and mutual understanding on issues of common and nationalinterest. The Parties agree that political dialogue shall take place at regular intervals at senior official and political level and cover all aspects of mutual interest. The issues to be addressed in the political dialogue shall be agreed in advance by the Parties
Nature of agreement
3. The Democratic Party agrees to cooperate with the National Resistance Movement in supporting the overall governance agenda and supporting parliamentary votes on matters of confidence and supply for the full term of this Parliament. In addition, the Democratic Party will support the National Resistance Movement Government on procedural motions in the House and at Select/Sessional Committees on the terms set out in this agreement. This will provide Ugandans with the certainty of a strong, stable Government with support from the Democratic Party over the next five years.
4. The Democratic Party will determine its own position in relation to any policy or legislative matter not covered by the Ministerial portfolios and areas of cooperation set out in this agreement. Differences of position within such portfolios and areas of cooperation will be managed in accordance with this agreement.
5. The National Resistance Movement Government in turn commits to working constructively with the Democratic Party to advance the policy goals set out in this agreement, alongside NRM’s policy programme. The NRM government undertakes to consider for incorporation the broad policy objectives of the Democratic party outlined in its manifesto and annexed to this agreement.
6. The NRM Government’s priorities for this term centre on a COVID-19 recovery plan. This includes the implementation of NRM manifesto promises and an economic plan, with a focus on investing in our people and preparing for the future.
7. The Democratic Party’s aspirations include enabling a Peaceful Democratic Presidential Transition which is something Ugandans yearn to see. In addition, the Democratic Party is committed to Servant Leadership; Reconciling Uganda; A New Consensus; Ending Corruption and Shared Prosperity. The Democratic Party in particular believes in facilitating a credible, properly mediated and agenda led National Dialogue as the means of a New Consensus putting Uganda first.
8. This agreement supports the advance of the Government’s priorities by allocating portfolios and establishing areas of cooperation that are consistent with the direction and goals of the NRM Government, as well as contributing to addressing the Democratic Party’s aspirations.
9. The Democratic Party will hold the following portfolios inside of Cabinet:
Norbert Mao will be appointed to the position of Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Another Democratic leader will be appointed to a junior ministerial position.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby expressly agreed that these Ministers shall hold their portfolios for the full term of the 11th Parliament or for the duration of this agreement, whichever comes first.
10. The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs will be the lead minister for coordinating the National Dialogue and the whole of government response on Constitutional Reforms with the mandate to coordinate Budget proposals in the Justice Law and Order Sector.
11. The Ministerial portfolios and other public sector appointments offered to the Democratic Party shall reflect areas where DP expertise provides a valuable contribution to the NRM Government.
12. Ministers from the Democratic Party will attend Cabinet Committees for items relevant to their portfolios and receive Cabinet Papers relevant to their portfolios, as provided for in the rules regulating Cabinet.
13. In addition, the National Resistance Movement will support the nomination of a Democratic Party Member of Parliament to be the Chair of a Standing Committee, as well as a Democratic Party Member of Parliament in the role of Deputy Chair of an additional Committee.
In addition, the parties agree as follows:
The National Resistance Movement will support the election of the Democratic Party candidate to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
The National Resistance Movement shall support the nomination of a Democratic Party Member of Parliament to be the Chair of a Standing Committee, as well as a Democratic Party Member of Parliament in the role of Deputy Chair of an additional Committee.
The Democratic Party shall propose up to four individuals for appointment to departments, statutory bodies and government agencies, the portfolio of which shall be discussed and agreed upon in advance by both parties.
Areas of cooperation
14. The parties will cooperate on agreed areas where the Democratic Party and National Resistance Movement have common goals:
15. These areas of cooperation shall reflect common goals between the National Resistance Movement and Democratic Party, and represent areas where the policy and experience of the Democratic Party provides a positive contribution to the National Resistance Movement Government.
16. The Parties will work together in good faith and cooperate with each other in respect of Executive and Parliamentary activities to advance these shared goals, including any public statements. The President may from time to time issue letters of expectations to Ministers and other officials from the Democratic Party and these letters will reflect the areas of policy cooperation and consultation processes required.
17. Beyond these stated areas of cooperation, it is also the Government’s intention to work with political parties from across Parliament (including the Opposition) on issues that affect our democracy, including the recommendations of the Supreme Court on Electoral Reforms, Recommendations made to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Constitutional Reforms and the length of the Parliamentary term.
18. On the areas of cooperation set out in this agreement, or other matters as agreed, the parties commit to undertaking political consultation between the responsible Minister and the appropriate spokesperson. This process will also apply to Democratic Party Ministerial portfolio matters.
19. This process, which will be agreed between the parties will cover:
A. the initial policy development, including access to relevant papers and drafts of legislation,
B. the development of Cabinet Papers,
C. the public communication of the policy to acknowledge the role of the Democratic Party.
20. The National Resistance Movement Government will also brief the Democratic Party on:
A. the broad outline of the legislative programme
B. Broad Budget parameters and process.
21. Outside of the areas specified in this agreement, there will be no requirement for consultation, but this could happen on a case by case basis.
22. Where there has been full participation in the development of a policy initiative and that participation has led to an agreed position, it is expected that both parties to this agreement will publicly support the process and outcome. This does not prevent the parties from noting where the agreed position deviates from their stated policy.
Relationship between the parties
23. The Democratic Party and National Resistance Movement will cooperate with each other with mutual respect on the areas set out in this agreement. Cooperation will include joint announcements relating to areas of policy cooperation.
24. The Leader of the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement will meet every three months or as required to monitor progress against the areas of cooperation set out in this agreement. The Secretaries General will meet regularly.
25. The parties agree that any concerns will be raised in confidence as early as possible and in good faith, between the Parliamentary Whips of the parties. Matters can be escalated to the Secretaries General , and then Party leaders, as required.
26. The parties may establish a process in order to maintain different public positions on the areas of cooperation. The parties agree that matters of differentiation will be dealt with on a ‘no surprises’ basis.
27. This agreement will evolve as the term of Government progresses, including through opening up potential additional areas of cooperation. Any additional areas of cooperation will be agreed to between the Party leaders and given effect by a letter from them to the relevant Minister.
28. Democratic Party Ministers agree to be bound by the Cabinet Rules in the exercise of Ministerial Responsibilities, and in particular, agree to be bound by the provisions on conduct, public duty, and personal interests of Ministers.
29. Ministers from the Democratic Party agree to be bound by collective responsibility in relation to their Ministerial portfolios. When speaking within portfolio responsibilities, they will speak for the Government representing the Government’s position in relation to those responsibilities.
30. In accordance with the Cabinet Rules , Ministers from the Democratic Party must support and implement Cabinet decisions in their portfolio areas. However, Ministers from the Democratic Party will not be restricted from noting where that policy may deviate from the Democratic Party policy on an issue. If this is required, it may be noted in the Cabinet minute that on a key issue, the Democratic Party position differs from the Cabinet decision.
31. When Ministers from the Democratic Party are speaking about matters outside of their portfolio responsibilities, they may speak on behalf of the Democratic Party or as Members of Parliament.
32. Agree to disagree provisions of the Cabinet Rules if any will be applied as necessary.
33. Ministers from the Democratic Party will be bound by the principle of Cabinet confidentiality, as set out in the Cabinet Rules.
34. Where Cabinet papers or other briefings are provided to the Democratic Party, or where the Democratic Party is involved in consultation on legislation, policy or budgetary matters, all such material and discussions shall be confidential unless otherwise agreed.
35. In the event that Government or Cabinet papers are provided to the Democratic Party for the purposes of political consultation they shall be provided to a designated person within the Democratic Party, who will take responsibility for ensuring they are treated with the appropriate degree of confidentiality.
36. Once confidential information is in the public domain, both parties are able to make comment on the information, subject to any constraints required by collective responsibility or this agreement.
Management of Parliamentary activities
37. Both parties commit to a ‘no surprises’ approach for House and Committee business. Protocols will be established for managing this.
38. The Leader of Government Business will keep the Democratic Party informed about the House programme in advance of each sitting session.
39. Consultation on legislation outside of the scope of this agreement will be conducted on a case by case basis. The Democratic Party will consider its position on each Bill in good faith and advise the relevant Minister and the President’s Office.
40. The Parties agree to a ‘no surprises’ approach to new private Members’ Bills. However, neither party is under any obligation to support the other party’s private Members’ Bills
41. The Democratic Party will support the Government on procedural motions in the House and in Committees, subject to consultation being undertaken. This excludes urgency, which will be negotiated on a case by case basis. The National Resistance Movement Party Whip and Democratic Party Whip will establish protocols to ensure these processes work effectively to meet the expectations of both parties.
42. The Democratic Party undertakes to keep full voting numbers present whenever the House is sitting where the Democratic Party has committed to support the National Resistance Movement Government and on matters of confidence and supply. The Democratic Party also undertakes to keep full voting numbers in Committee, unless otherwise agreed.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF OF, the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals effective as of the day and year first above written.