New Vision (Kampala)

12 May 2010

Uganda: Suspended Legislators No Strangers to Controversy

Kampala — THE five MPs who were suspended yesterday are not strangers to controversy.

Beatrice Atim Anywar

She is the shadow minister for environment, who has won several awards for her role in the fight to protect the environment.

The Kitgum woman MP is popularly known as 'Maama Mabira' for her role in the April 16, 2007 Save Mabira demonstration that turned violent.

The demonstration was meant to protest the Government's plans to give away part of Mabira Forest for the growing of sugar cane.

Three people died in the chaos and scores of others were injured.

Anywar was questioned by the Police and charged at Buganda Road Court with participating in a riot.

Anywar, who says she is committed to fighting corruption at the top, is one of the few MPs who openly speak about the vice.

The 46-year-old Forum for Democratic Change legislator came to parliament in 2006, after beating the NRM party candidate, Santa Okot.

Christine Bako Abia

Serving her first term in Parliament, Bako Abia is shadow minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries.

The 33-year-old Arua woman MP speaks with confidence. She is not only assertive but is one of the few well informed legislators, who can ably debate issues in the House.

The no nonsense legislator is, however, known for her high adrenalin level and has had several altercations with ministers.

Disaster preparedness minister Tarsis Kabwegere, works state minister Simon Ejau and Arua district chairman Andama Ferua are some of the politicians who have tested her wrath.

On April 29, the commissioning of the refurbished Arua Hospital out Patient's Ward turned into an exchange of words between her and Kabwegere.

A month later, she struggled with Ejua over a seat in the VIP tent during Women's Day celebration in Arua.

In February, she had engaged in a fist fight with the district chairman, Andama Ferua.

Godfrey Ekanya

The Tororo MP is not new to controversy. In 2008, his fellow shadow minister, Erias Lukwago, dragged him to the Parliament disciplinary committee, accusing him of "treacherous handling of the Nakasero Market probe." Howeve,r the probe never took off.

Ekanya first came to Parliament as Youth MP for eastern Uganda in 1996.

Last year, he was nearly roughed up for allegedly belittling the ruling National Resistance Movement.

The MP, who subscribes to the FDC party, is said to have offered an NRM party cap to a person thought to be mad during the NRM 23rd anniversary celebrations in Tororo district, which infuriated NRM supporters.

Ekanya has of late come under suspicion from his party, fearing that he could defect to the NRM over creation of a new district in Tororo.

The legislator held the position of chairman of the Young Parliamentarians Association from 2001 to 2003.

He sits on the national economy, local government and presidential and foreign affairs parliamentary committees.

Prior to joining politics, Ekanya was a researcher with a Kenyan company after which he practiced journalism with a vernacular newspaper Kodheyo until 1998.

Michael Nyeko Ocula

The Kilak (Gulu) MP and shadow minister for public service is not known for controversy.

He came into the limelight in 2005 when the Government accused him and MP Reagan Okumu of murder. Court, however, acquitted him.

the reserved legislator says he makes contributions only where necessary.

The opposition hardliner first came to Parliament in 2001 and returned in 2006.

Samuel Odonga Otto

The youthful Aruu MP is not void of drama.

Odonga has been at the centre of many controversial issues that have stirred debate in the House.

The vocal FDC legislator came to parliament in 2001 aged 24 years and returned in 2006.

In 2008, Otto narrowly survived a suspension after accusing MPs of receiving bribes to approve CHOGM funds. He was pardoned after he apologised.

Not only has he had problems with the Government, he has also clashed with his party leaders.

For instance, he resigned as FDC youth chairman, citing lack of transparency in the party ranks.

Otto, now 33 years old, resigned his prestigious position on the appointments committee in 2006, describing it as docile.

The committee was at the time interviewing ministerial nominees.

He paraded his family in Parliament three years ago when fellow MP Ruth Nankabirwa allegedly said he was just another "young boy making noise."

He is in court over allegedly assaulting a police officer and threatening violence against journalists.

In 2000, he was arrested by military police for disrupting a graduation ceremony, presided over by President Yoweri Museveni. Otto also mobilised students to stage a demonstration against the 2000 referendum over political systems.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2010 New Vision. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.