The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Mr President, What's Your Personal Interest in the Oil Law?

opinion

Dear Mr President,

You have again betrayed your people and your country; it probably should have been another person but not you. In 1986, when you, President Yoweri Museveni, came to power, Ugandans living here in Uganda and those in the Diaspora, thought Uganda's saviour had finally come.

You promised a fundamental change from the obtaining scenario; and on your swearing-in at the doorsteps of the Parliament of Uganda, you categorically stated that your government would cause a fundamental change and not a mere change of guard.

Your speech inspired people to develop hope; little did they know that you would be the very same person who would lead the betrayal crusade, not elsewhere, but in your motherland, Uganda.

From the time the Petroleum bill was brought to Parliament for the first reading, up to the time when it was mechanically passed and, therefore, presented for the 3rd reading, you have been operating in the corridors of Parliament in a clandestine manner, ranging from your NRM party caucusing, to cabinet meetings whose resolutions are going to cause a tremendous crisis, a curse and a catastrophe for our present and future generations, just because you failed to listen to the people of Uganda.

As a matter of fact, I would like to put a direct question to you: what is your vested interest in forcing your party members to vote for the re-committal of Clause 9 (the excessive powers of the minister to grant and revoke licences at the exclusion of the National Oil Authority) and yet it is you, Mr President, the very same person who will appoint both the minister and nominate the National Oil Authority members; what is your intention?

Time and again I have wondered why you rush the passing of some bills (e.g. the removal of Presidential term limits in the 1995 Constitution, the cultural institutions law and now the oil bill); does this kind of thing suggest there are specific laws and policies where you have personal interest?

When you came on to the scene of Uganda's leadership, you seemed to be a serious and determined proponent of culture. So, in consideration, why haven't you rushed the passing of the Anti-homosexuality bill and the anti-money laundering bill, among others?

Why can't you rush and push for the health insurance scheme? Up to now I have not fully understood what the principles that you stand for are. Let me bring it to your attention that your government has not been the sole architect of the passing of laws ? you have only presided over the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th parliaments.

Take it from me that you are not the first nor will you be the last president to preside over the Parliament of Uganda. Many more parliaments and presidents are yet to come. Do not behave as if you are the president who 'invented' the oil in Uganda.

That is why you should have let the debate and conclusion on the oil bill be legislated on in the interest of all Ugandans. Otherwise, you have forced the worst law ever down the throats of Ugandans, and remember your children, grandchildren and the rest of Ugandans will live to regret the passing of the 'Oil bill' in December, 2012, that may turn round and be a great curse for the country.

God, help our country!

Nzoghu William (MP) Busongora County North

Kasese district

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