The Parliament exhibition that never was

Opinions

By Hudu Hussein

The Parliamentary exhibition on X formerly Twitter has been one of the clearest examples of media propaganda at its uppermost.

It’s been a reflection of how social media can be misused to victimize even the noblest of saints.

Before proceeding any further, it is key to state that there is a difference between Parliament as an institution, an office, and an office holder.

Agather and Spire hid behind the veil of the institution of Parliament to crucify the person of the speaker in a stellar display of moral corruption.

What was heinously coded as #Parliamentexhibition was in truth #impeachAnitaAmong.

As an institution, Parliament has so many shortcomings most of which I was expecting the so-called exhibition to unearth.

For instance, I find the number of members of Parliament so big that resizing to a smaller number would make far more economic sense in the economic make up of Uganda than ambiguating the allocations of singular offices!

Even the intellectual qualities of some of our MPs could have come in play if truly the exhibition had to do with exposing the mischiefs of Parliament. Rather, it was all about Hon. Anita Among.

Parliament existed before Hon. Anita, and it will live on past her. How logical is it for a lawyer and a PhD holder to assume that forcing the resignation of an officeholder will heal the weaknesses of an institution which she has barely been in charge of for 3 years?

Even as an office, the office of the speaker was allocated 13.1 billion shillings by the Parliamentary Commission openly, not in hiding.

The Deputy Speaker’s office was allocated 11.3 billion shillings while the office of the leader of opposition appointed by NUP president Bobi Wine was allocated 3.6 billion shillings.

Quite interestingly, no figures of these surfaced at the exhibition except the figure associated with Hon. Anita Among.

Neither Agather nor Spire questioned the 3.6 billion shillings that Joel Ssenyonyi is currently spending.

To them, that too is Anita’s problem if it’s a problem at all! Important to note is that what Spire and company do not tell the public is how these allocations are even made.

The Parliamentary Commission is a constitutional body established under Article 87(a) of the Constitution of Uganda. It is a body corporate comprising the Minister of Finance, four commissioners elected from the Parliament, the Deputy Speaker, the Speaker and the leader of the opposition in Parliament.

The emoluments and administration of Parliament are also well provided for in the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Act 2006. As a body corporate, the Parliamentary Commission can sue or be sued.

If these allocations to these offices are unlawful or unconstitutional, Agather should guide Spire who is not a lawyer like she is to take the matters to court with evidence.

What is however absurd is how the allocations made by the parliamentary commission are being blamed on the speaker, Rt. Hon. Anita Among! Of course, it is sad and heartbreaking to see a Makerere Law School classmate of mine, Agather continuously front unverified pictures on X of alleged withdrawals of funds by junior staff on behalf of the Speaker. I’d expect, under normal circumstances for such information to be verified before sharing on a public platform.

Where was the money being withdrawn from? Is it part of the allocations by the parliamentary commission to her office or not? I dare say none of the exhibitors knows anything past the picture!

For a person of the stature of the Speaker, I would expect that before going on to defame her, honour at least her office before spewing things for which you can’t account. The picture was meant for public excitement.

One of the grievances was that the money was being withdrawn for corporate social responsibility mainly in Eastern Uganda, Teso. When allocating 13.1 billion shillings to the office of the speaker, 2.4 billion was allocated for donations.

If she has misused it, the courts are open.

The only reason these allegations cannot go far is because they are empty air, a bubble of noise meant to excite an unsuspecting public and turn them against an individual.

Why Teso? The answer is, where else would Agather prefer and why? Tribal politics has injured this country for a long because of such mindsets.

Having established the fact that the so-called exhibition was a veiled personal vendetta against Rt. Hon. Anita, I opine it is for some of these reasons:

When the Rt. Hon. Anita Among left the FDC and joined NRM, her political career has blossomed so much to the envy of her former colleagues in the opposition.

She is the most senior politician in the East and extending her influence there is a win for President Museveni, the nightmare of the opposition here.

They are aware of her political resourcefulness and the fact that she has already weakened their grip in the east, and beyond and could do more should she stay as powerful as she is.

The strategy is to fail her and frustrate the NRM political presence in the East and in the opposition generally.

It is also telling that the award-winning Agather and the White man’s friend Spire are leading the attack. Unfortunately, Agather unconsciously serves the interests of colonialists so does Spire at the expense of their country.

On the other hand, Rt. Hon. Anita just passed the anti–homosexuality Act in such a manner that this time round, it cannot be annulled based on the wrongful procedure as it was in the case of the 10th Parliament.

She is an enemy of the same people giving awards to the exhibitors; why wouldn’t they throw more propaganda at her to get more awards?

Lastly, so long as the Rt. Hon. Anita Among remains the speaker of parliament, the Parliament will not be an enemy of the executive, a wish for most self-seekers, but rather a helping hand to help in implementing the policies of the NRM government which are aimed at improving the conditions of the very people the opposition hopes to manipulate for votes. It is for such reasons that she will be unreasonably fought as we have all witnessed on X.

Hudu Hussein, Lawyer and Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Masaka City

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