Monday, December 31, 2018

UGANDA: Museveni frustratig speaker Kadaga's self cleansing


CHANGE OF GUARDS - Museveni is fond of pulling down outstanding national leaders who try to exhibit any kind of independence and excellence in the execution of their mandate.  One such national leader is the firebrand Speaker of Parliament, Rebbeca Kadaga.  A well crafted scheme to have her replaced by Jacob Oulanya suffered a terrible setback in 2006 when she rallied majority parliamentarians behind her fight.

However, in September 2018 she fell into Museveni's trap when she connived with the army to invade parliament and  beat up parliamentarians before arresting them. A section of disappointed parliamentarians and the general public accused her of connivance and demanded for an apology.  She was quick to vehemently disassociate herself from the fracas thus;
        "I did not invite any security organ to Parliament and did not command any security organ to take any action in Parliament. I am surprised that me, a civilian, is being accused of commanding security agents. I don’t know how a civilian can command.

My record on the protection, rights and privileges of MPs is very clear. Let me remind you that in the 9th Parliament, I took issue with my party, the NRM and upheld the constitutional rights of MPs in this House and that protection became the protection of all members in this House. No party can now withdraw a member from this House and it was upheld by the Supreme court. So those who are running Parliament from the street can forget about it.".

She was referring to the infamous Rebel M.Ps whom Museveni chased from the party and had also wanted to eject them from parliament.

Shortly after,  Speaker Kadaga realized how Museveni had entrapped her and embarked on a self cleansing drive.  She has been trying to regain the confidence of not only the parliamentarians but the general public too.  She has stepped up efforts to attend to matters affecting the general public through a series of petitions.

Unlike in the past when she would deliberately absent herself from Parliament whenever a controversial matter came up for debate, this time round she is always present to steer debates.  She is often finding time to visit and inspect both private and government developmental projects in the county.

In January 2018 she received a petition by owners of pharmacies over unfair operations of the National Drug Authority (NDA).  She gave them assurance thus;
       “I want to know why NDA is not being funded and why this is being transferred to the public. I am busy fighting for business people to get their space, we shall fight this one as well."

In February 2018 she ordered for a special audit of the Treasury's accounts over USD 200M (700b shillings) unaccounted for that was supposed to fund the National Medical Stores.

In May 2018 about 400 farmers from Amuru petitioned the Speaker over an outstanding 47b shillings that was meant to boost their sugarcane outgrowing for the Amuru Sugar factory.

During the same month the Speaker ordered the Security Minister Gen Tumwine to quit Nomo Gallery and pay the outstanding billions in rent arrears.  She strongly argued that;
      "I think it is a serious indictment on this House that we have been budgeting for Nommo gallery and when it has been appropriated by an individual. If we don’t check this impunity, one day someone will come here, take over this Parliament and say this is my house, I fought in the bush.  This House directs Tumwine to pay the rent and also vacate because it is a public facility. I don’t think we want to be associated with this type of impunity, no. I don’t want to be associated with it.”

With the strong backing of Museveni, Gen. Tumwine publicly belittled the speaker thus;
     “When we came from the bush, I organized artists and we began using it, I appointed a Director.  The Speaker doesn’t understand these things. Unlike Kadaga, I don’t fight to be heard speaking. I fight for the truth. If they built it, let them evict me. They don’t understand what they are saying. I liberated my country. I am using the property genuinely”.

In June 2018, environmentalists  petitioned the Speaker over 10,000 hectares of forest land that was being destroyed by a palm oil investor on Buvuma Island.

In July 2018, fish traders petitioned the Speaker over torture, arrests and destruction of their equipments by soldiers on Lake Victoria.  She promised to arrange a meeting between them and Museveni.

In July 2018 women activists under the banner of "Women Lives Matter" protested and petitioned the Speaker over rampant kidnappings and murder of women

Car importers petitioned the Speaker over exorbitant car import inspection fees by UNBS.  Earlier on, Parliament had suspended the operations of foreign companies that had been contracted to inspect vehicles for conformity to standards.

In October 2018, following the brutal arrest, kidnap and torture of 36 people including some parliamentarians in Arua, Speaker Kadaga instituted a probe committee and demanded for action by Museveni thus;
       "Your Excellency I am concerned that no effort has been made to arrest security officers from the SFC, Military Police and Uganda police force who were involved in the violent actions against unarmed civilians.  This is therefore to demand that the officers concerned be apprehended at the earliest opportunity and presented in court. Unless this is done, it will be very difficult to conduct government business in Parliament. The Uganda Parliament will not condone acquiesce in acts of torture."

The panicky Museveni in his usual style convened the regime parliamentary caucus where he threatened to disolve Parliament thus;
        "Between 1971 and 1979 (Idi Amin dictatorship - Ed), there was no parliament…Don’t think that you are in heaven; do what took you there. You should know where the power of that parliament comes from… in fact, I can do away with that parliament.....and we brought it [parliament] back, so do whatever you are doing knowing….....I  have seen that parliament set up a committee to investigate what happened in Arua.  Suppose you summon the soldiers and they don’t come, what will you do?”

Museveni who suspected that it was Kadaga who had cleared the European Union Ambassadors to visit the barracks where the parliamentarians had been detained vowed to find out who had authorised them.

On August 30, 2018 Museveni wrote a five page formal response to the Speaker thus;
"I would like to advise that that we await the outcome of the investigations (into the allegations of wrong if any) currently being carried out under the leadership of the Chief of Defense Forces and the Inspector General of Police and refrain from use of the word “torture” until we establish the full facts of the events of that day.  I am sure you are aware that Security Forces are entitled to use reasonable force while dealing with a suspect who is resisting arrest in the execution of their mandate to protect civilians under threat by rioters or terrorists or even threat to property.”

In September 2018 a group of  " concerned citizens" petitioned the Speaker calling for a public hearing inquiry into the failing banking industry.  She complied and the probe by COSACE is on going.  Recently Museveni expressed his displeasure at the public conduct of the inquiry.

In September 2018 residents of Bukoli petitioned the Speaker over destruction of their boats and fishing gear by soldiers.  Speaker Kadaga expressed her solidarity thus;
      "If the conduct of the security operatives is to prevent you from earning your living, it is a violation of your rights under Article 40 of the Constitution..........I will brief the House about it and follow up with the President,” she added.

During the same month more fishermen from other parts of Lake Victoria petitioned the Speaker over torture, killing and destruction of their fishing equipments and houses by the same soldiers.  Speaker Kadaga brought the matter to the floor of Parliament where she tasked the Prime Minister to give a full explanation thus:
        "We want action. Last week, I invited UPDF, Finance Minister, Minister of Agriculture and the fishing traders to discuss the conduct of UPDF against the population but when the people went back, 9 of them were arrested for having come here to speak.”

In October 2018 facilitated by leading civil society groups, over 300 youth staged a moot parliamentary session where they petitioned the Speaker over the mobile money tax.

In November 2018, fruit farmers from Teso petitioned the Speaker seeking compensation for losses incurred as a result of growing fruits when there is no factory to process them.

In December 2018, the 350 people illegally evicted from their land and houses destroyed petitioned the Speaker.  Parliament moved and passed a motion for government to reinstate and compensate the victims and punish those responsible.  During the debate, Speaker Kadaga excelled when she did not spare the Chief Magistrate Esther Nasambu and the Court Broker Kirunda Moses a.k.a Musoga who are her fellow ethnic Basoga.

Around late December 2018  Speaker Kadaga presided over a parliamentary session that debated the banning on Musician and Legislator, Hon. Bobi Wine's concerts by the police.  Before ordering that police relaxes on their stringent conditions and allow the shows, she argued against the harassment thus
           "The organisers invest money in the bookings, events, hiring the musicians and therefore stopping a show or concert affects them gravely.  How do you expect an ordinary organiser to know the expected number that will turn up; to control traffic flow and set up routes; and to avail sniffer dogs?”

Instead a week later Museveni ordered his security agencies to deploy the heaviest armaments at the said Musician's beach to stop his December 26th concert.  Live bullets and tear gas were used to scare off revellers.

On 22nd December 2018, Speaker Kadaga visited Jinja, Luzira and Kigo Prisons where she delivered some gifts to inmates before listening to their sorrows and promising to find solutions.

Speaker Kadaga is successfully  re-eventing her image.  It is an open secret that she is the only remaining hope for the downtrodden citizens.  Though Parliament's resolutions are ignored by Museveni and his executive, at least the Speaker is providing the much needed consolation. However, Museveni is also determined to bring her down.  As we start 2019, we need to watch the space as to where the fight will end up.



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