3 January 2013

Uganda: Kadaga Got It Wrong On Nebanda


I read with shock and dismay the New Vision story of December 23, 2012, headlined Kadaga refutes Police Report on Nabenda.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga is reported to have told mourners paying their last respects to the departed Woman MP for Butaleja Cerinah Nabenda in Butaleja that she was not convinced by the Police report, which said that the fallen MP died off drug over dose, which is believed to had been taken with some alcohol.

Nabenda's death has attracted a lot of conspiracy theories by some MPs and of course family members who are not convinced by the reports that their dear MP was taking drugs after all.

The most shocking statement was from Kadaga who disputed the Police toxicological report on Nabenda that showed that the fallen MP died of drug abuse. Kadaga told mourners that she knew all the drinking habits of the 375 MPs.

This was not only false but a populist statement meant to please the already charged crowd that had been "poisoned" by another group of populist MPs who claimed that Nebanda could have been poisoned by agents in the Government. Of course the MPs were the usual suspects, Theodore Sekikubo , Chris Baryomunsi, Mohammed Nsereko , Sam Lyomoki , Abdul Katuntu and Medard Bitekyerezo.

It is difficult to effectively manage social behaviour of adults. One, therefore, wonders how Kadaga monitors the behaviours of the 375 MPs beyond the parliamentary duties.

Maybe the Speaker relies on personal confessions the MPs make to her, if at all it is mandatory for them to declare what they drink and eat. Even then, it would be wrong to rely on personal confessions to make such conclusions. Because I guess not all of them would tell her the truth.

Even the strictest parents can not say with certainty that they know the drinking habits of their adult children simply because when the children are imbibing the hard stuff, they hide from their parents. Stories abound of the so called born again who stock alcohol in their homes to only enjoy after leaving the pulpit.

It is therefore puzzling to conceptualize how Hon. Kadaga could be able to know with finality which of her MPs drunk what and when.

The biggest challenge with Uganda's politics is that we are degenerating into populism as a means of being accepted by the majority. Populism is cheap to sell to the usually uninformed populace that has limited capacity to internalise the intricate matters of political management.

However, our dear Speaker should not allow herself to fall in such unfortunate trap. Early this year, the country almost went up in smoke after some populist MPs presented to Parliament documents alleging that some senior ministers had taken bribes worth billions of shillings from the prospecting oil companies.

Before long we got to know that the said documents were false. But the damage to those implicated had been done beyond repair and the country thrown into unnecessary frenzy.

Kadaga should be resolute in her decision even if it means annoying a certain section of the people. She should stand firm and follow standards procedures as laid out in the books. Her statements are not ordinary statements; they are from the number three in the political hierarchy of our country.

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