Wolokoso – MP Asks for Chewing Break [column]

Every committee of Parliament budgets for refreshments for MPs and their visitors, including snacks and drinks.

Once the proceedings are underway, MPs eat as and when they want. (But Wolokoso, always a fly on the wall, can only eat stealthily as the speaker does not allow this.)

An MP can choose to eat at the beginning, midway, towards the end or throughout the session. However, some MPs arrive in the middle of the meeting and have to attend to the snacks before the matters in the committee.

This is what happened the other day to the Nakaseke South MP, the great debater Sempala Mbuga. As soon as he joined the committee on the Foreign Affairs, he grabbed a chapatti and happily proceeded to beat the hunger.

But almost immediately, the chairperson, Dr Sam Okuonzi, threw a spanner in the mouth.

“We have a member who has just joined us Honourable can you please introduce yourself and we move on?”

Embarrassed, Mbuga replied: “Can you please allow me to first swallow [my chapatti]?”

But before the chairperson could respond, a bemused minister who was a visitor to the committee, urgently said: “Granted”.

So, after swallowing, MP Mbuga said: “I am Honourable Sempala Mbuga, I represent Nakaseke County South, and a member of this committee!”

Let’s proceed!


Before President Museveni announced his new cabinet on March 1, many MPs lobbied to become ministers because of the perks that come with it – including sitting on the front benches of parliament. Those that made it to the cabinet were evidently delighted and some have since thrown mega parties.

However, one of the new faces on the front bench is already regretting because as a minister, one cannot freely contribute to debate in the House. Ministers have to weigh what they say, lest it contradicts a position taken by government earlier.

This particular MP was recently heard saying that one feels wasted on the front bench. He reminded Wolokoso of school days, when playful children hated sitting at the front – where they could not giggle and exchange funny chits with equally naughty classmates.

“There are motions that come up and you feel like you want to rise up and contribute but then you remember that you are something else. I am already missing that free debate,” the minister was heard regretting.

Well, Mr Minister, Wolokoso predicts that you will soon realize that the end justifies these stifling means. Of course you can prove Wolokoso wrong by resigning and returning to the back bench.


Since he was de-flocked in March 2011, Ethics and Integrity minister Simon Lokodo still addresses himself by the title of Rev Fr.

This, in a way suggested to Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze Bakireke that Lokodo was still a committed member of the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, Wolokoso has previously seen him attending mass at the Parliamentary Catholic chaplaincy not as a priest but as a lay Catholic.

Nambooze recently came to Parliament hawking CDs of a Lugazi priest who is fundraising for support of needy seminarians at Nswanjere minor seminary. Her targets were mostly Catholic MPs. Having gone through the seminary to become a priest, Lokodo was expected to buy the CD at more than the Shs 20,000 price tag. But as she found out, this was like asking Amama for Yoweri’s latest mobile number.

“I don’t want to hear anything about those things, what? Church music? I don’t want,” Lokodo was overheard telling Nambooze, who seemed to think that some devil had entered her ears and was confusing her.

“I thought you are a priest. Have you left the church?”

Now getting irritated, Lokodo reiterated his lack of interest in the whole thing: “I have told you I don’t want!”

Much like the monkey of the legendary taste-of-the-grapes fame, Nambooze snapped: “Okay! You go to Desire Luzinda!”


Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah is known for his flamboyant decisions he takes on the floor, but Wolokoso can reveal that Oulanyah is also a marketing and communication expert.

Last week, URA officials, led by commissioner general Doris Akol, visited the deputy speaker to discuss how the two institutions can work together to effectively widen the tax base.

So, while addressing the delegation, Oulanyah asked URA to become creative to improve on their internal communication.

“They [Barclays bank] have a funny phone like that but the board sits in a telephone conference” he said, “one day, I was in Gulu with the Barclays bank manager Gulu branch and I found him in a board meeting in Kampala!”

(Naawe, Mr Speaker, how can a man in Gulu be in Kampala at the same time?)

“People in Kampala discuss and when they reach Gulu, they just switch on and say “Gulu”, and the manager starts to narrate all what takes place in Gulu.”

(Ah, so we already have teleconferencing here?)

“So, the man was in Gulu, but he was attending a meeting in Kampala so, start these creative initiatives they will help URA to progress.”

If Wolokoso was Oulanyah, he would by now have sent an invoice to URA for those excellent consultancy services. But alas, Wolokoso is not Oulanyah.


Despite the grieving and sadness that came with the death of Supreme Mufti Zubair Sowedi Kayongo, his burial was also a revealing moment for the thousands that trekked to Kiboga.

Speaker after speaker spoke of the departed sheikh’s contribution to the development of Islam in the country. Seated quietly among the mourners at Kiboga was former vice-president Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, now UN special envoy for HIVAids in Africa. She wore a long dress with a black veil covering her head.

Sheikhs, including those close to Sheikh Kayongo as well as government officials notably Gen Moses Ali (deputy prime minister) and government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa repeatedly addressed her as Dr Specioza Kazibwe, until Kayongo’s elder son, Sheikh Yusuf Zubair Kayongo, was invited to speak on behalf of his siblings.

He started by correcting the “mistake” of calling Dr Spe by the Specioza Kazibwe name because she has long dropped the two names.

“One of the works for which my father should be credited is leading the former Vice President into dropping the Specioza name. Mzee [Sheikh Kayongo] named her Aisha, and the headscarf she is putting on is not a mockery it is real, she is now a different person from the one you knew in the past,” Yusuf said.

Muslims chanted Allah Akbar (God is the greatest) as Dr Aisha Spe nodded in approval.

Indeed, He is the greatest! Oh, by the way, does anyone remember a time when Spe waxed lyrical about circumcised men? But well, that was most likely her medical opinion.

Source : The Observer