By Robert Kigongo
Most Ugandans including Members of 11th Parliament have criminally squinted and underrated Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda’s role in parliamentary democracy.
Conscious Ugandans follow parliamentary debates and sessions in the plenary and committees as well as in the media have watched FDC’s Ssemujju as the face of the Opposition despite the fact the NUP has the majority leading Opposition party members in the August House.
In the Dawn of 14th January 2021, Ugandans went to polls for presidential and parliamentary elections. The elections were scientific due to COVID-19, on record this was the most violent election in the History of Modern Democracy and elections.
Due to Kyagulanyi effect the electorate made decisions to opt for NUP Umbrella symbol.
The voting pattern In Buganda was a thrilled with a red wave sweeping Kampala and Wakiso districts but only two FDC MPs made it to Parliament: Yusuf Nsibambi of Mawokota South in Mpigi District and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda of Kira Municipality who literally won all polling stations with 42,626 votes against NUP’s Jimmy Lukwago in second position.
The Deuteronomy continued with National Unity Platform scooping 58 seats, which made it the leading Opposition party in 11th Parliament. Among the legislators were seasoned MPs previously in DP, FDC, NRM like Betty Nambooze, Medard Ssegona, Lutamaguzi Ssemakula, John Baptist Nambeshe, among others.
Ssemujju, despite FDC registering only 36 MPs, did not hesitate to contest for Speakership race running against Jacob Olounyah. He got only 15 votes out of 130 Opposition legislators.
Opposition is the largest non-government party or coalition of parties in the legislative assembly with a duty to question the government of the day and hold it accountable.
The acts of democracy apostle’s continues In 11th Parliament indicating that opposition is a government by discussion and discussion that presupposes arguments and encounter arguments.
However, NUP legislators have neglected this core mandate. They seem to be relaxed, resigned, confused or so comfortable under NRM kleptocracy. Many don’t even attend plenary sittings, committees, and are absent from their constituencies they are absent, some are seen by the electorate making merry.
Jimmy Lwanga of Njeru Municipality and Kagabo Twaha of Bukoto South, or Bashir Kazibwe, Patrick Nsanja are absolutely nowhere to be seen.
In public domain and other social media and traditional platforms, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, president of NUP, seems to be struggling to explain the legislators' incapability, inadequacies, and mistakes with assistance from Alex Waisswa Mufumbiro the second spokesperson.
It’s next to impossible to work towards removing a ruling government in Africa, especially one of almost 40 years using State resources, donor funds, army, civil and public servants, international lobbyists to keep its grip on power.
But it’s disappointing and unforgivable to raise hopes of oppressed impoverished masses to resign to comfort. Even if you can’t do much, sometimes the little you can do is to expose, uuestion, and talk about constitutionalism, atrocities, corruption and mismanagement.
The NUP legislators have so not mastered the art of parliamentary democracy, which is considered to be the best form of government because in this system there is a scope for the people to reflect their wishes and grievances through their elected representatives.
Ssemujju is filling the gaps left by NUP political novices to use very slight opportunity to scrutinize the policies and NRM administration.
The Kiira Municipality legislator has unapologetically condemned wasteful expenditure of our own tax payers money and plundering and looting natural resources by NRM government officials.
Ssemujju is not just overshadowing the Opposition in leading and publicising the development of accountable governance, opposition parties but on many occasions he has registered himself in the Hansards for identifying and premiering alternatives.
If it was not Ssemujju's resilience and conviction to hold leadership accountable, the iron sheet bonanza by NRM top leaders including the Vice President, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance could not have gained momentum.
About arbitrary arrests, torture and abductions, Ssemujju has put the ministers on the spot to explain and give accountability to Ugandans.
As the famous Laski pointed out, "men who are to live together peacefully must be able to argue together peacefully." This is manifesting in Ssemujju although the majority of NUP legislators did not vote for him as Speaker of 11th Parliament.
NUP legislators in two years left are ought to emulate and without egos to seek guidance, lectures from Semujju and learn better how to question the NRM government and hold it accountable.
NUP MPs can also learn from Ssemujju how to monitor, bringing matters from the electorate to the attention of ministers, the public and how the NRM government is misusing taxpayers money in the Consolidated Fund, donor funds, violating law and unlawful activities.
Recently, Ssemujju took to highlighting State House's heavy budget, how Museveni family is occupying key positions. This is very critical issue that NUP legislation and the public must pay attention to in order to minimize government misappropriation of resources and public funds wastage.
The Timothy of it all, quote me clearly like Snow in Greece, the best way to master an art is by learning from those who have mastered it so well.
There is no harm or contradictions if NUP MPs can organize a retreat and get lectures from Ssemujju and like minds who equally believe that we must have quality in Parliament democracy, improve the welfare of electorate, achieve the sustainable development goals, and ultimately change of government through peaceful transfer of power.
In according to revelations, it must also come to NUP legislators attention that “Politics is not Static”. What worked in presidential and parliamentary elections in 2021 will not work in 2026. For example taking pictures with Kyagulanyi or slogans like “we are removing a dictator” and “People power our power”. They will be held accountable for the five years in 11th Parliament and lack of service delivery, poor representation, absenteeism in both house and constituencies.
The Nation Unity platform (NUP) have golden advantage of two years in Parliament another is age, space for learning from the seasoned senators.
Robert Kigongo is an enthusiast of Parliamentary Democracy.