7 February 2013

Uganda: Coup Debate Deliberately Misguided


Going by the persistent coup talk especially in the media, it is almost obvious there is a deliberate distortion of what is now rumoured as a possible military take over. Logic and reason reminds us that the NRM government will not undermine the 27 years of peace and stability that is witnessed in almost every part of the country.

For those deliberately distorting the message, why are they omitting the crucial background of the President's remarks?

In his remarks that led to the misinformed coup debate, the President stated that it was on record that there instances where Parliament has acted unconstitutionally and that the Constitutional Court in Petition No. 47 0f 2011, had made a ruling to that effect.

On this occasion SaverinoTwinobusingye dragged the Attorney General to the Constitutional Court challenging some of the resolutions we had passed as Parliament during the famous October 2011 Oil debate whose foundation it has now been proved beyond doubt was on forged documents.

That colleagues would assemble forgeries to create debate conceivably explains why we - the political class will jump on to anything to excite the public in a search for status and relevance.

As part of their ruling, the Constitutional Court ruled that; "Resolution 9 (c), which required the Prime Minister and other ministers to step aside with immediate effect pending investigations and a report of the Ad-hoc committee of Parliament, is unconstitutional and therefore null and void".

But much as the President restricted himself to this Constitutional Court ruling, there is a catalogue of confusion that has been created by the political class, which borders on abuse of privileges. Some of these include the attempt to grab the Speaker's mace during the debate on the Oil and Gas Bills.

In the recall petition that the Speaker wisely rejected, there were claims of signatures being forged. But much as the dismissal has been pegged on signature withdrawal, the petition was absolutely defective and wanting in terms of the requirements including number of signatures.

In a clear manifestation of confusion, one of the petitioners spent sleepless nights knocking at colleagues' doors for signatures he even forgot to append his own signature. In fact of the 127 'signatures' two had their names on the list but did not append their signatures.

There were those who signed twice in a bid to hoodwink the public that the petitioners got the required signatures-and today, give an impression/insinuation that the Speaker was intimidated into submission by the executive.

The extent of the anomalies exposes our fragile integrity. Otherwise, how on earth could members put wrong dates against their names with one dated 10 days before the circumstances that led to the petition and another dated December 2, 2013?

In addition to two others who signed by proxy. Not forgetting that Hon. Tony Kipoi's signature was whitewashed by prison authorities but it also appears as legitimate. Therefore, eight out of the 127 signatures were null and void implying the petition did not meet the requirements.

In my humble opinion, these anomalies are not consistent with Article 95(5) of the Constitution.

In the case of comrade Mike Mukula, the people who were referring to his building as GAVI house when he was first arraigned before the courts of law are now preaching selective judgement.

Their anti-corruption fight becomes tribal; their political lenses deny them reality checks. What they say at night differs from their submission during the day. If all the above is not confusion, what then constitutes confusion? It is with that background that the President cautions against confusion, indiscipline and the return to the turmoil of the past.

The President is reminding us of generational responsibilities that we hold as leaders- chosen among the many millions.

It is worth noting that Hon. Crispus Kiyonga and Gen. Aronda Nyakairima did not call a press conference to talk about the coup but rather the two were asked about the subject by journalists.

Gen. Aronda' opening remark spoke volumes. "We are going about our business as normal". In essence the coup talk is misplaced. He added that the message was well taken for those to who it was intended.

For all he said Article (3) of the Constitution makes it the duty of every Ugandan to defend the Constitution at all times and specifically to resist any person or group of persons seeking to overthrow the established Constitutional order. Article 3(5) adds "any person or group of persons who, as required by clause (4) of this article, resists the suspension, overthrow, abrogation or amendment of the Constitution commits no offence".

In light of what has been highlighted above; the indiscipline of some of us in the political class threatens the Constitution, and those putting up a resistance in defence of the Constitution commit no offence. Instead, they call on us to define our mission.

MP Bunya West Constituency

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