The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Wolokoso - Restaurant for Parliament's Parking?

Information in the corridors of Parliament indicates that the five-level parking lot for members of the august House may soon be turned into a restaurant.

Since it was commissioned late last year, the parking has not been used by the MPs because it has not been cleared by security. It cost Shs 18bn to construct, and another Shs 18bn is needed to fix security gadgets.

But as the Parliamentary Commission pondered on the source of the money, a suggestion came up: turn it into a restaurant and end the monopoly of the Parliamentary canteen.

Wolokoso finds the suggestion both funny and strange. But then again, strange things happen when politicians get to work.

'Terrorist' Nabakooba:

Former police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba has previously issued terror alerts to Ugandans, but in the eyes of Mityana Woman MP Sylvia Namabidde Ssinabulya, Nabakooba is a 'terrorist'.

Nabakooba is rumoured to be mobilising for Namabidde's seat come 2016, which appears to have given the incumbent some discomfort. Namabidde also chairs Parliament's Social Services committee.

Last Tuesday, after chairing the committee meeting, she was stopped by a group of journalists to clarify a few issues about what had transpired in the meeting but she had little time.

"Let's do this very quickly because I have to run to the constituency," she told the scribes, before one chipped in.

"Eeeh Honourable, we hear that Nabakooba is busy that side," a journalist said.

"She is a mutujju [terrorist]; that's why I have to run quickly," Namabidde responded. Wolokoso wonders how the police will deal with this 'terrorist', when they still have to contend with more 'youthful' NRM terrorists.

MP Rusoke's unusual 'constituency'

We love our mobile phones because they ease work for us, but these gadgets can embarrass a not-so-straight user. On Thursday, a journalist was left perplexed after Kabarole Woman MP Victoria Businge Rusoke used her mobile phone to classic evasive effect.

The MP was in the Parliamentary canteen, but so was the journalist - at the other end. The journalist wanted to interview Rusoke but she told him on phone that she was attending a meeting in her constituency.

Frustrated, the journalist hung up. What Rusoke did not know was that the person she was talking to on phone was some few metres from her.

Wolokoso was left wondering whether the Isingiro Woman MP Grace Byarugaba Isingoma and Kanungu Woman MP Elizabeth Karungi, with whom Rusoke was seated, were her constituents and the canteen had turned into Kabarole district.

Remorseful Jennifer Musisi:

She comes across as a tough woman, going by her run-ins with Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, street vendors and, of late, taxi drivers. But KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi can also be remorseful for some of the actions by people under her charge.

On Thursday, as she arrived to meet Parliament's Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Musisi's guards roughed up a female photojournalist for taking her pictures.

The journalist protested, telling the no-nonsense KCCA ED and her team to start treating others as human beings. She did not readily respond, but as she settled down in the committee room, she pulled out her notebook, scribbled down a few words apologising to the journalist "for the improper behaviour" of her security guards.

Needless to say, the photojournalist was impressed.

Did Museveni get permission?

According to the Public Order Management Act, organisers of public meetings have to notify the police at least three days in advance and secure a no-objection.

The police, among other things, usually considers such issues as the appropriateness of the venue, before deciding not to block the meeting. So, when President Museveni, who is the chairperson of the ruling NRM, recently stopped to address rioting taxi drivers in the middle of Entebbe road, some opposition MPs were heard wondering if Museveni had notified the police.

They wondered if police chief Kale Kayihura, recently christened Afande Tear Gas by the prime minister's wife, would ever block the NRM chairman the way they block former FDC boss Kizza Besigye or Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

Well, members, it could be that some people are more equal than others.

FDC's Ekanya praises Museveni:

Politics, they say, has no room for permanent friends or permanent enemies - only permanent interests. Tororo MP Geoffrey Ekanya is a former FDC presidential candidate, but he is happy with NRM Chairman Yoweri Museveni for assenting to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in total defiance of Western donors.

Addressing Christian leaders at St George memorial stadium in Tororo recently, Ekanya said that when President Museveni threatened not to sign the bill, he (Ekanya) told religious leaders it was time for the opposition to take over government.

But it seems Museveni's intelligence network alerted him about Ekanya's intentions, which may have been one of the reasons the president did an about-turn and signed the bill!

"I agree with the president on the issue of anti-gay bill because the foreigners who are threatening to cut their aid need us more than we need them because without us, where will they invest their money?" said Ekanya.

As chairman of Tororo parliamentary caucus, Ekanya threatened to summon West Budama North MP Fox Odoi to explain why he is fighting the anti-gay law.

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