New Vision (Kampala)

11 January 2013

Uganda: 'Rebel' MPs Want Retreat to Discuss Term Limits

Photo: independent
President Yoweri Museveni

The NRM MPs who have been summoned to face disciplinary action want the party leaders and members to discuss NRM succession and the need to restore term limits.

Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba and Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi on Thursday said there is urgent need for NRM to address governance issues including internal democracy in the party, independence of state institutions, and restoration of term limits.

The NRM chief whip Justine Lumumba on Wednesday said she had forwarded five MPs to the party secretary general Amama Mbabazi for disciplinary action over their consistent opposition to the party decisions.

The MPs include Buyaga MP Barnabas Tinkasimire, Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi, Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba and Kampala Central MP Mohamed Nsereko who on Tuesday vowed he would never attend any NRM caucus or retreat meetings again.

Nsereko argued that the party caucus and retreats are a one man's show.

Asked whether he would attend the party's retreat at Kyankwanzi, Niwagaba said, "I can only go there if my security is guaranteed."

Regarding the basis of the fear about his life, he said, "We know what had been planned against some of us before Christmas. That is why we are now security-conscious."

On what he wants the retreat to address, Niwagaba said, "We must address the governance problems of Uganda especially the issue of life presidency. We need to re-instate the presidential term limits."

Niwagaba also wants to see the party leadership to come up with practical measures to curb poverty, create jobs for the youths, and improving the social-economic welfare of people by prioritizing key sectors like agriculture, education, energy, roads, and health.

Ssekikubo said: "First of all, I have looked at those referrals but they are purportedly written for the secretary general to act. In both the NEC and NRM caucus meetings, the secretary general was requested to step down when he accepted to take on the position of prime minister.

"The deputy secretary general [Dorothy Hyuha] was appointed ambassador to Tanzania. On that ground, the office of the secretary general is empty."

He advised the NRM government to address the issues they raise, instead of setting out to persecute them.

"Disciplinary action is diversionary. It does not solve the problems of bad governance, corruption, institutional break down, and poor service delivery which we raise. It does help us to bury our heads in the sand," Ssekikubo explained.

The outspoken legislator noted that despite threats to expel him from the party, he would attend the party retreat which begins tomorrow (Saturday) and raise pertinent issues of national concern.

"The issue of internal democracy and NRM succession must be addressed. Why should someone think one head is better than 250 heads? The corrupt should be prosecuted and removed from government. The executive should stop undermining the independence of state institutions," he elaborated.

Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi said, "The summons are defective in law. Even if they expelled me, I would still remain a Member of Parliament. I think they are trying to divert public attention from the death of [fallen Butaleja MP Cerinah] Nebanda."

The young legislator said they usually disagree with party positions where national interests are not catered for.

"Our voices represent the voices of majority Ugandans and if the NRM leadership has chosen to ignore them, then the party will inevitably fall into oblivion," Kyamadidi argued.

On whether he would attend the retreat, Kyamadidi said, "I cannot go there. I don't think I will add any value to it. Secondly, the last time I went there I got an accident and I cannot rule out the possibility that it was stage-managed."

Kyamadidi advised the party leaders to put right what went wrong and implement what they promised in the manifesto especially on service delivery.

Observing that the worst mistake of the 7th Parliament was to remove term limits, Kyamadidi advised the NRM retreat to discuss the need to re-instate term limits and to prevail over President Yoweri Museveni not to stand again in 2016 after 30 years in power.

Nsereko said he would not support Museveni in 2016 if he stands again for presidency, arguing there is no more value he can add on the nation.

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