8 January 2018

Uganda: Is Parliament Still Necessary?

Various newspaper columnists have already exhaustively written on the effect of the presidential Age Limit removal.

I, however, still feel that for the sake of our young citizens and the sizeable ever gullible citizens, it is important to further contextualise the Constitution Amendment (No 2) Bill 2017 and sum up the obvious consequences. From the beginning, the bill was nonsensical, because it fell from the sky.

It had no mischief to remedy. The deceptive attempt by Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi and company to associate it with the Supreme court ruling in the 2016 Amama Mbabazi presidential election petition was the most absurd, but not surprising.

Not surprising because, deception, lies and trivializing of serious national issues is no longer a preserve of the Museveni regime. It has actually become an NRM/national culture. Primarily, members of parliament, like any other leaders, are expected to be people of integrity, honest, patriotic with above average intelligence, and with common sense.

Article 102 (b) was not entrenched because given the debate that raged during the constitution-making process, it was very clear that, in future, citizens may need to revisit it.

Questioning the relevance of parliament now does not necessarily mean that it has been relevant before. By the fact that the 1995 Constitution provided for a one-party state, it was very clear that Mr Museveni/NRA had not gone to the bush to fight for democracy, constitutionalism and development of Uganda.

Given the way the promised transition of four years had been cunningly extended; it was clear that the NRA was not a sincere organisation and that parliament was going to be a vehicle of enhancing their hidden agendas.

Indeed, from 1996 to date, parliament has not proved to be a patriotic or real body holding government to account as provided by the doctrine of the separation of powers.

By the fact that MPs reward themselves such hefty salaries and benefits already shows that parliament is just a predatory and selfish body.

While NRA/NRM/Museveni had deceptively managed to convince a sizeable number of Ugandans that Parliament was relevant and an example of the fruits of their sacrifice, removing age limits with such primitive arrogance, at last, revealed the real hopeless body it has been all along.

For the people of Luweero, it was first the UPC councillors who were butchered. Without heads of families, the widows were forced to marry bushmen/join the war, die or abandon their ancestral lands.

Their daughters were raped, married off and others conscripted in the guerrilla ranks. The boys were obviously forced into the NRA and other guerrilla formations. The family structure in Luweero was totally dismantled, the future of so many young people was destroyed, the dreams of many parents perished.

This country lost close to 500,000 people in the Luweero war. Before they died together with their families, they had been promised a better Uganda.

For an NRM group, dominated by members from one region, to arrogantly and violently amend the constitution to perpetuate their dominance of the political, social and economic life in this country is an absolute abuse and desecration of those who perished in Luweero.

For over 20 years, this country endured one of the most brutal and senseless civil wars in the northern/eastern parts of the country in which close to one million people perished. They died all in the name of fighting barbarism and sectarianism.

The cynicism, arrogance and tribal superiority displayed by NRM is a total spit in the face of a region whose wounds are still bleeding.

Hence, that explains the anger and call for secession seen in parliament during the debate on the bill. For whatever reasons, personal or national, with or without the satanic verses, the age limit removal is a total insult to many Ugandans by parliament.

The facade has been removed; it has totally discarded itself from many Ugandans. I strongly believe that, from now on, parliament is only a decoration, important to those who benefit from it, not for national interest.


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