Wolokoso – Are MPs Outsmarting Speaker Rebecca Kadaga?

Human beings, someone once said, are difficult creatures, especially when you try to control them. Whatever you plan, they plan an escape route.

Just take the example of the guys who manufacture computer viruses with such efficiency that they always manage to get a step ahead of the anti-virus makers.

Well, what is Wolokoso now saying? Well, it has to do with the august House. See, sometime back Speaker Rebecca Kadaga introduced a register so that one hour into the session, it is withdrawn and anyone who has not attended cannot be said to have attended plenary.

Of late, Wolokoso realized that there were more MPs in the first hour of the seating than in the last two or three hours. It would appear that after registering, many MPs go out to attend some urgent, extra-plenary issues.

So, when it came to the debate on the Eastern Africa Standby Force last Thursday, it emerged that there was no quorum. Kadaga could not believe it. As far as she could remember, she had seen more than enough MPs. And so she asked for the book and started, virtually roll-calling.

Honourable so-and-so?

Silence!

Honourable so-and-so?

Silence!

Well, at least ‘Honourable’ Wolokoso was around to capture the speaker’s predicament. As were opposition MPs who raised the issue of quorum.

Minister Byandala finds MPs’ technical knowledge wanting

Works and Transport Minister Abraham Byandala is one of the long-serving engineers in public life, having worked for many institutions particularly, the defunct Kampala City Council. Perhaps because of his accumulated knowledge, Byandala appears to have little patience for ordinary mortals with little or no grasp of elementary engineering issues.

The under-fire minister, who last week appeared before the House select committee on the standard gauge railway project, literally told MPs that they deserved a lecture on technical issues. His opinion followed repeated ‘vague’ questions from members regarding the technical details he went through with his technical people within the ministry.

“Mr Chairman, I suggest that when I leave, you should take these people through these technical details like engineering procurement and contractor EPC because they are complex,” said Byandala, apparently at pains to be polite.

But MP Maxwell Okora [Maruzi, UPC], who had raised the last ‘vague’ question, could not agree: “No! Take us through because you are here and you are the minister why would you burden our chairperson?”

In response, Byandala just assured him how he trusted Engineer Ssekitoleko, his colleague in the profession: “No, he would take you through those technical bits because he is competent and I trust him.”

On realising that the minister had asserted himself, Okora changed tack: “I am not interested in the technical details, I want to know how China Harbour [Engineering Company] was procured.”

Backstage at Museveni’s Capital gang radio show

Any Ugandan radio show host will lament about how harder it is for Ugandan journalists to get access to President Museveni than, say, CNN or BBC.

Oskar Semweya-Musoke must, therefore, feel lucky that he was recently hosted by Museveni (okay, he hosted the president at the president’s home) for the Capital Gang show. Wolokoso understands that Oskar, as the good host is fondly known, had been benching Museveni for a good 18 month before he landed his prize.

“It was during the Europe day celebrations, around April last year, that I invited him and he promised to come in June that same year. So, his appearance on the show last Saturday came one and a half years,” Oskar was overheard telling a newspaper journalist.

“We have been sending him on average three invitations every year to come to the show until this time when we asked him to come and talk about the NRM [December 15 delegates’] conference because every week, we have been dedicating about thirty minutes to an hour talking about the conference.”

Bribes

But it was not easy to get Museveni, with some gangsters – such as Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda and Abdu Katuntu apparently fearing to visit Museveni lest they are accused of having accepted a cash-coated handshake. But Oskar calmed them down, swearing to defend them against any such accusations should they emerge.

To drive to State House, the “gangsters” met at Fuelex Lweza and squeezed into three cars. They were to later squeeze into Semweya’s car to be dropped at State House’s main entrance. Moments later, Semweya ran back to the main gate to clear Wanyoto who arrived late, just as Katuntu and Ssemujju protested the yellow tags State House security personnel attempted to put on their phones.

In the end, Ssemujju opted to keep his phones in Semweya’s car.

Strange visitors

The panelists were later led to a waiting room. They waited for about an hour for Museveni to arrive.

“Ssemujju kept telling us that based on the stories he hears from State House, the president is not a good timekeeper, and he threatened to walk away if the president didn’t show up within an hour of waiting,” Semweya told the newspaper journalist.

When the president finally arrived, the gangsters were led upstairs to a room where the recording was done. Here, they found Capital FM general manager Peter Mungoma and other presidential aides who were setting the stage for the show.

“Who are these people, and why are they here?” Museveni reportedly asked on entering the room.

At this point, one of Museveni’s aides introduced the gangsters and thanked Museveni for finding time to appear on the talk show.

Wolokoso estimates that this pretence not to know the gangsters was another tool Museveni uses to deflate the egos of this political – or philosophical – opponents by trying to imply that they are too unimportant to be known by a big man like him.

But one man with a very good sense of himself is Ssemujju Nganda. Not only did he constantly ask “Daddy Museveni” provocative questions, he refused to eat anything at State House, and openly told his host that he feared for his life.

He later clashed with the minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, who seemed offended by Ssemujju’s jabs at the president.

But Museveni does love to be the benevolent guy. He promptly restrained Tumwebaze from disturbing his “son Ssemujju”.

Source : The Observer

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