The Observer (Kampala)

20 December 2012

Uganda: In Nebanda's Own Words

The fallen woman MP for Butaleja District, Cerinah Nebanda, was one of the most active MPs in the 9th Parliament. Nebanda took her oath on May 18, 2011 and passed on last Friday, 19 months later. Sulaiman Kakaire has combed the Hansard, the official parliamentary record, for some of her memorable submissions.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011, as MPs considered a motion to create new ministries, Nebanda made her maiden speech:

"Thank you very much, Madam Speaker...I am also bringing in my request that there are some ministries that are very big. Now the one for women is very big and yet it is put under one ministry. I am requesting that they make it an independent ministry. Is it possible (Interjection) - protection the SPEAKER: Order, Members! Please, do not interrupt hon. Nebanda. She is speaking for Butaleja.

Ms Nebanda: I thank you. Another request I am bringing forward is: is it possible they can list down the ministries and present them to Members of Parliament so that we can be able to know which ones they are splitting and which new ministries they are bringing in? I thank you very much."

Empty promises

July 6, 2011, responding to the president's state of the nation Address:

"... I wish to thank the President for the very good address that had important ideas. (Applause) However, where, I have a problem is on the implementation of the ideas; this is going to be very difficult. I quote from the last State of the Nation Address he delivered concerning agriculture; on page 12, there was an idea about forming structures for NAADS.

He talked about it in the last State of the Nation Address (Applause) but up to now, it has never been implemented. (Laughter and Applause) I also made research on the last State of Nation Address because I was not around and I was trying to compare notes. He talked about corruption and gave very good and brilliant measures to fight corruption. After reading these ideas, I was just saying in my heart, 'Yes, Uganda is now going to move forward.' But I got disappointed!

Concerning inflation, I wish to inform this House that this problem is becoming big - driving from Kampala it is really touching and hitting my pockets! I used to drive from Entebbe to Kampala and at first I used Shs 20,000 then I went to Shs 30,000. Whenever we complained, Government always said we would normalise.

Then I went to Shs 50,000 and the Government said, 'The situation is temporary.' Right now, I use Shs 100,000. (Applause) On a serious note, every day I use Shs 100,000 to fuel my car. Madam Speaker, you always see me getting out before the session ends because if there is jam (Laughter) - I will not be able to reach home and so I have to go before jam has increased because my pocket will not be able to afford.

We really have to tackle this problem because the prices have been going up...which is a serious matter...

On health, I really appreciated when the President said that Government would construct more health centers and hospitals. But what I am wondering is that we have old ones in a very sorry state. I want to invite you to my district of Butaleja and you will even cry. It has only one regional referral hospital.

People from Budaka, part of Namutumba, part of Nagongera come to Busolwe hospital but there is no machine that functions and yet it is a big hospital. In the last Parliament, you passed money for the construction of health centre IIIs but if you come to my district, you will not even find Panadol.

You will find only one nurse. (Applause) I request that as we are getting more ideas to construct more hospitals, we should first make sure that the old ones we have are in good shape so that our people will have some assurance that -(Member timed out)

July 21, 2011, Nebanda opposed the motion for a resolution of parliament authorizing government to incur expenditure of Shs 61bn only towards the thermal power subsidy under vote 107 by the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development:

...I want to bring it to the attention of this House, especially the Budget Committee, that we are not just refusing to pass this budget but we care about taxpayers' money. When we were in the committee, I realized that the Permanent Secretary had some personal interest in some things because he refused to bring out all the information. We were asking him some questions and he would not give us some of the answers, especially on the way they give out contracts to private companies.

I think they determine the prices themselves and they overcharge us to the extent that people in rural areas can no longer afford electricity. So, I stand up to second Hon. Nsereko's motion so that we can get accountability. Do not consider us as enemies because we love this nation.

August 25, 2011: on an issue raised by Hon Jovah Kamateeka:

... I have risen to also contribute and thank my honorable colleague for bringing up that issue. I want to give - in fact, Mr Speaker, I want the honorable Minister of Disaster to come and tell us the challenges he is facing - (Interjections) - Disaster Preparedness.

Why I am not adding the word 'preparedness' is because they are not prepared. That is why I am saying disaster. What is happening is that at the beginning of this year there were heavy rains in my area, Butaleja District. The rains started from Butaleja District and then Namutumba. We all raised alarms but it's only the people of Namutumba who were helped and my people were not.

This month we had heavy rains in Butaleja District before Karamoja, but the people of Karamoja were helped before the ones of Butaleja. When I called the minister, he told me that the ministry has only three trucks. The whole country has only three trucks! Sincerely, how can three trucks be able to serve the whole of this country?

... My people even went to the extent of striking on Monday because for almost a month, the road has been closed and this is the main road from Mbale to Butaleja, just like the main road from Kampala to Entebbe. It was blocked and people went on strike because they did not have food and that is when they were helped. So, I am requesting the Chief Whip and the Leader of Government business that if more money is needed in this ministry, let Parliament know...

September 2, 2011, on a motion that led to the creation of an ad hoc committee to investigate the energy sector:

When you go to page 8, where the committee recommends that an investigation should be carried out among other sectors - the extent of energy losses. Before carrying out this other investment, if you go to point 2, it still says that in 2009, Government commissioned an inquiry into the escalating electricity costs in the country with the view to reduce the tariffs.

This commission came up with pertinent recommendations, that is, the famous Gen Saleh Report. But up to now, Government has made no effort to address them. So, before they set this up, I want to add something that this report should be brought to this House and they also give us some explanation why Government did not address the issues in the first report. Because if these investigations are done, the report will not come out and we will not know what the Government had not addressed...

September 5, 2011, a motion on KCCA issues (On the chasing of vendors from streets):

...I am standing to second the motion, but with some amendments. I want us to amend that Kampala City Authority law -(Interjections)- This is my motion, I need protection. Let them first stop chasing away vendors and let the committee, since the matter now is before Parliament, first sit and investigate and then they come up with the right option.

We are all human beings. Even we Members of Parliament are making noise about the crisis. I do not like the vendors being on the streets and causing congestion, but the way we are doing it - Even if you go to the USA, they have these vendors on the streets, unless you have never travelled. As I finalize, what we have to do is relocate these people.

They are saying the market is there, but we are paying rent in dollars, which these people cannot do, and that is why they are on the streets. Members, you should know that when we come to Parliament, we do not ask where they come from. We represent even those that do not have - do not think that we represent only those that have.

Protecting thugs?

October 10, 2011 during the special sitting of Parliament to debate the oil sector:

...I am giving my point from the saddest part that I have seen in the House. When I was coming to the House, I was told that matters concerning oil should not be discussed; they are confidential because they will interfere with our security in the country. And as I was coming, I had strongly come to object because of the security part.

But when I heard the presentation, I even wanted to cry. I had come to protect thugs! (Laughter) I realised that we are just working -(Interjections)- on a serious note, I realised that we are just working for four people and I came to realise that I was coming to be used to protect thugs. As Nebanda, I am standing up -(Interruption in power supply)- As Nebanda, I stood up because of the presentation that has been made here.

To add even more information, I have got a message that the person who has been given the post as the managing director of the company given to manage the oil reserves in Jinja is called Kutesa Iga. He is the MD of the reserves in Jinja. That means we are working for families here. Members, it is high time that we stood up. If it means going to the bush to fight corruption I am ready.

(Applause) We have to fight corruption. I am saying this because if you go to my district, I was given Shs 5bn for the whole financial year and one individual is stomaching Shs 20bn. We do not have medicine in the hospitals and our work is to come here and protect thugs!

Members, it is high time we stood up and fought for freedom.

We got independence, but if you read the book called Animal Farm, where they say all animals are equal but some are more equal than others, we are independent but there are those who are more independent than others. (Interruption)

On walk to work

November 8, 2011, on the issue of walk to work:

If I could turn the attention of the Members to page 3 of the presentation by the honorable Minister for Internal Affairs. He says that there are some concerns from the Leader of the Opposition Hon Nandala Mafabi that Dr Besigye's life is in danger. I am trying to put a way forward.

When you enter politics, you have to first protect yourself. If Dr Besigye is saying that his life is in danger, he has to make sure that he protects himself. If he sees that walking to work will endanger him, then he should stop walking to work... As Members of Parliament, our concern is to make sure that Dr Besigye's life is safe, but for us to do that, let him first stop walking to work and there will be no excuse for someone to harm him as he walks to work.

I am also requesting Government not to fire bullets when we are handling walk-to-work demonstrations. When we fire bullets, some innocent people get hurt. We should find a proper way of handling walk-to-work campaigns. We can use teargas, purple water but not bullets.

December 13, 2011, on motion urging the Government to revamp the cotton industry:

... I rise to support the motion and the amendments as moved by Hon Cecilia Ogwal. Honourable members, as you may know, right now, we in Butaleja District are going through a difficult situation. We have been attacked by heavy rains. The area is now flooded with all the crops swept away.

The only hope that my people had was on cotton. Many of them thought they would sell this to get some money to buy food because we are now approaching the hunger period. They also expected to sell their cotton to buy more seeds for planting when the floods subside. However, as I speak, a kilo of cotton in Butaleja is at only Shs 800.

My voters are now calling me; they are all looking at me; they all think that I am the one to bring the answers. I am now also looking at the Government and the minister and requesting them to please be kind enough. People are dying of poverty and we as the Movement want people to move away from poverty. But how can someone move away from poverty when you are paying him Shs 800 per kg? What will that help? It will do nothing.

I am calling upon the government and the honourable Minister to get a price. Let it not even be Shs 1,200. My people are starving. They are being affected by floods. Shs 1,200 is not enough. And if you realise, the whole country was affected. So, at least, let us get a reasonable price that we can give to our farmers and encourage them to grow cotton.

February 16, 2012, on the matter that led to the resignation of Khiddu Makubuya and Syda Bbumba:

... I want to take this opportunity to thank the committee for the work well done. I am not yet satisfied and I can't thank the former ministers. I can only thank Hon Makubuya for telling us that there is a time for everything. There is a time for stealing and a time for eating. Now it is time for accountability.

The people of Butaleja and the people of Uganda will be so satisfied when they see that their money is refunded and recovered. Last time they presented a report on the bicycles and up to now we do not know what is happening. The chairmen LC-I are asking me where their bicycles are.

Today, the committee has presented a report, but there is no time limit. The Prime Minister has made his presentation and he has only informed us that the ministers are going to resign, but he has not informed us when our money is going to be recovered.

So, I urge that the government gives us a timeframe when we are going to recover our money so that I know that in a month's time, I will go to the bank on this account and check that my taxpayer's money is there.... but so far I am not satisfied until I see the money.-

February 28, 2012 on nodding disease:

... I have one amendment to make. This matter of nodding disease has been debated for almost a month in this House. I want to move an amendment that in order for Parliament to be taken seriously, no supplementary budget should be brought in this House without including the issue of the nodding disease.

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