New Vision (Kampala)

20 December 2012

Uganda: Do Not Blame the Govt Alone Over Lawmaker's Death

opinion

THE fallen MP Cerinah Nebanda is another victim of the mystery of the jinx of quick achievers. This is a category of people that seem to be aware of the short time they have on earth.

They strive to do everything quickly within a short time and in a little while they are gone. Some evil force just seeks to extinguish them. It is a time of distress for our nation and many past wounds are being opened up.

My earnest prayer is that we will not be engulfed with fear, accusations and counter accusations. But that all this will work together for the good of our land.

In 2009 there were wrangles to carve Kwapa district out of Tororo. During that time, one of the activists against the division of the district died. He was an industrious young man working with Centre for Disease Control (CDC) an NGO. Many prominent people within the district attended his burial including Otala the then MP of West Budama South.

There were several theories advanced as causes of his quick and mysterious death. One camp said he had been banned from using the Malarial Drug Fansida which the doctor had used to treat him leading to counter-reactions. Some said he was poisoned because he was fighting for the district.

Others accused his colleagues of envy and intrigue and so forth. Every speaker at the burial promised to investigate and bring to book those responsible for the death of this young man. But to date no meaningful conclusion has been reached. He is gone but praise God he was a righteous young man.

The Government of Uganda consists of all the leaders and its people. What has happened to the Member of Parliament is just a replica of what happens among familes, neighbours, in work places among others. You hear of poison, witchcraft and many such things when one dies.

There are many mistakes being made by the public, the MPs, the Police and others, which cause panic and more speculations. But just as the US government is pondering a ban on automatic weapons and strict restrictions on the National Rifles Association due to a recent shootout at a children's school, this sad event should cause us to think hard and solve the issues at hand.

Corruption, hatred and divisions have led to the splitting up of our country into many districts. One community accuses another of discrimination forcing the government to divide it into a number of districts, counties, sub counties and so forth. The next day they complain that their own people they elected are corrupt and blocking services from reaching them.

As for the case of the late MP Nebanda, in her tender age she could not keep quiet when many MPs in Bunyole and Butaleja were doing nothing. Busolwe Hospital which serves that entire region is within their jurisdiction, why should it take a young person like Nebanda to raise the concerns of the people like medical care?

People have a notion that the only route to serve the people is promotion and that is to become a Member of Parliament. People are just crazy to the point of electing teenagers into parliament!

But the KCCA Director and the Commissioner General of URA both ladies were not elevated because they were MPs in the first place. The ministers of finance, energy, education and the Speaker of Parliament are all women.

I am not disturbed at all by this because if men are corrupt and have failed to overcome temptations related to money, women can continue to be appointed to replace them.

The only post not suitable for a woman is the presidency because we have a chronic problem of wars and rebel activity, which a woman will not handle. Which means we did not need a Woman Member of Parliament from every district to address issues concerning women, children, sick people and the like.

The whole process of decentralisation has been excessive and messed up, the people and the government in equal measure are to blame for this burden exerted on our national resources.

Take an example of people of Bulambuli and Sironko who crowd Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and local clinics for treatment. When the president visited them instead of raising this urgent need they asked for districts.

These districts have bred more divisions among the people making it difficult to work in civil service outside one's home district. It is such a circumstance that led to the death of the late Onyait James hailing from Pallisa, who was a CAO of Kapchorwa.

Let us confront the real issues affecting us not just the symptoms. Unless we do this we shall continue experiencing wars and plagues like ebola, Marburg, which our neighbouring nations do not experience at all.

For God and My Country,

The writer is with St. Paul's College, Mbale.

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