Bukonzo West MP Atkins Katusabe's heavily accented submissions have often left MPs second-guessing what he is saying but Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa says it can instead help Members learn to interact with Americans in future
PARLIAMANT - Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze was Thursday almost calling for water after Bukonzo County West MP Atkins Katusabe's heavily accented submission left him lost at sea.
Katusabe had put Minister Tumwebaze to task over the government's measures to curb the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. He said the minister had headed a research directorate at State House and should be using that rich CV to boost performance at the ministry.
"I have listened to his submission from A-Z but nowhere have I heard him talking about research, innovation and yet and there are researchers all over our universities," the Forum for Democratic Change legislator said.
"We're as a country supposed to be knowledge consumers and yet knowledge at universities are on the shelves gathering dust. I recommend that this house adopts a policy that ministries attach on their submission policy proposals a statement of science, technology and innovation and research to tackle such incidences."
However, with Tumwebaze seemingly hearing the accented submission in symphony mode, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa had to step in, joking that ministers and MPs should listen to Katusabe a lot more to learn to interact with American and Europeans later.
"Honourable Minister, you didn't understand?" Tayebwa said, chuckling drawing mirth from across the house, "I see some of you, Honourable Members, it's a training for you; we send you for international trips so you must learn to listen to Americans."
This is not the first time Katushabe's accent has left MPs confused. In the 10th Parliament, Odonga Otto raised similar concerns and not long ago, it was Bubulo East legislator John Musila cocking his ears to the camels and back, in vein.
"Madam Speaker, we are facing challenges of understanding our colleague, the honorable Atkins, and I'm sure you're also simply just guessing what he's saying, we don't want want to estimate what he's saying," Musila told Speaker Anita Among.
But Katusabe, who lived in America for 20 years before, has never been comfortable with the reactions over his accent, feeling that his colleagues blow it out of proportions to the detriment of his popularity back in Kasese.
The legislator who continue to be a subject of debate in the August house has been at the forefront for fighting for the plight of the incarcerated Rwenzururu guards who were arrested by security forces in the 2016 raid on the kingdom.
Katusabe went through formal schools in Uganda from primary at Kitakibi, Beera Secondary School, St Leo's College Kyegobe and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from Makerere university.
However, he holds two PhD degrees from American universities.