Museveni once again proved that he holds the script to Uganda’s politics or the MPs once again proved they have learnt nothing or simply forgot everything from the man who keeps ramming them into walls.
On Thursday evening, the constitutional court in Mbale validated the removal of the age limit on presidential office, hence giving Museveni another go at office.
On the same day, court quelled the extension of tenure by “selfish” members of parliament from five to seven years. Justice Cheborion Barishaki in his judgment said that citizens had gone to vote well aware of a five-year term, but MPs chose to extend their term without consulting voters hence violating a social contract and robbing citizens.
His colleagues on the bench unanimously agreed, the MPs were only being selfish, awarding themselves powers they don’t wield. “At this rate, they can declare themselves MPs for life like Idi Amin did, or they can pass the seats to their children,” Justice Kakuru remarked.
The words from the bench separated Museveni from the MPs, it was now clear that one person had emerged victorious in all this at the expense of everyone who voted far away from their head.
“It is clear, the MPs asked for a rope and Museveni gave it to them well knotted, they are now dangling on a tree, while he deworms his cows far away from the scene,” one social media critic said.
How it all started
The age limit and constitutional amendments began like a rumour, being traded around by the likes of MP Kafeero of Nakifuma, it soon grew into something later being tabled by Raphael Magyezi of Igara West County.
In one of the meetings to caucus ahead of the age limit removal, MPs convinced themselves that they needed something more than cash, and they therefore chose to consult President Museveni who gave them go ahead to extend tenure for themselves “to make more money,” as the late Abiriga would later reveal.
“The time in parliament is not enough for us, for three years we are paying loans, the fourth year we are working for constituency and the last year u are going back to spend in campaign, I think seven years would help us make some money for ourselves,” Abiriga who never minced his words retorted.
Indeed, they voted overwhelmingly and left for Christmas a happy people.
“Those MPs after voting to extend tenure, said it is done and some of them immediately started seeking loans thinking it will be a seven-year term,” a government official who prefers not to be named said on Friday.
“They stopped talking to us after they extended the tenure, but after the Mbale court judgment, MPs have been looking for any journalist they can find because now they believe it will be sooner than later,” a journalist attached to one of the media houses said.
Museveni starts Movie
Museveni signed the Bill into Law quietly while on his day off in Rakitura, indeed only his Principle Private Secretary had the news, and not the dates. It was later rumoured that the certificate of financial implication did not escort the report on the tenure extension, but it was not a serious matter at the time anyway.
Museveni always wants to make the public envious about you, before he finally lets you fall so no one catches you if at all. And so, while at a National event, Museveni summoned all NRM MPs that had championed the passing of the Bill, praised them in loud speaker and called them the real heroes. “Mwe Bazira benyini (you are the real heroes.” Museveni said before MPs poured on the dance floor and wiggle wobbled to the song Tubonga Nawe, like the world had just been customised for them.
Museveni had also earlier said: “I want to salute the 317 MPs who defied intimidation, malignment and blackmail and opted for a flexible constitution to deal with the destiny issues of Africa instead of maintaining Uganda on the path of unimaginative, non ideological, neo colonial status quo. By so doing, they enabled us to avoid the more complicated paths that would have been required. ”
He had already cooked his goose; the MPs were getting the necessary envy required. Soon they would start asking for every kind of thing, including armoured cars and several body guards, well he still gave it to them (only a non sober mind would take that letter serious, hell no, they were not going to get those things).
Museveni was still getting a huge cloud of envy to surround his newly found babyish war heroes.
When the Age Limit case started, the Attorney General’s office was under strict guidelines to put more emphasis in defending the age limit removal, and it was clear even in court room as no state attorney wasted much breathe on the tenure extension for MPs.
Several state attorneys also before the case lost interest in defending MPs (Museveni effect) and at one of the occasions disagreed with the AG saying they would not put in anything for the MPs.
The other guideline was that should the age limit removal suffer set back; the AG was to appeal. However, should the case return with a win on age limit removal, whoever loses in the other consolidated cases can appeal if they so wish. Here again, the MPs had started being sidelined and indeed the case was lost from the MPs side and officials from AG’s office said; “We are not appealing, the MPs can appeal for themselves.”
Opposition MPs have started having their laugh already. John Baptist Nambashe already claimed Museveni duped the entire caucus while Lutamaguzi claims Museveni gave MPs a sack with a crocodile to carry and they never checked until they reached the lake and it turned against them.
These events are typical of the perfidious Museveni who while amending the constitution to remove term limits gathered MPs and tricked them again, first with a cash bonanza at one of the offices in the city centre and a pickup truck for Theodore Ssekikubo who was not keeping quiet.
Like then Minister for parliament affairs Hope Mwesigye said; When I realised we had passed the amendment in 2005 and now the term limits were off, immediately after the 2006 election you could see the President was campaigning for the next term so it looked like he didn’t want to go anywhere. He had duped us. I would say I was duped.”
Justice (retired) Kanyeihamba summarised the entire Museveni script as thus;
“When the idea of term limits removal was first floated, most Ugandans thought that it was a joke in bad taste. The Constituent Assembly delegates recalled that the debate about and subsequent adoption of the term limits provisions were not contentious and their acceptance as part of the permanent features of the supreme law of the country were nationally and universally accepted as absolute and binding. No one reckoned the intentions or methods that were to be employed to ridicule President Museveni’s undertaking. First, Cabinet ministers had to be coerced into supporting the amendment removing term limits. Those who refused or expressed doubt on the measure were booted out of Cabinet. Next, was to persuade Members of Parliament to fall in line. When it was realised that many of them were reluctant to do so, they were each bribed with Shs5 million, at that time a great deal of money” (Kanyeihamba, 2017).