DR. FRANK NABWISO
On 18th April 2018, Ms. Ida Kusiima, on behalf of the Clerk to Parliament wrote to me a letter, reference AB/199/288/01, inviting me to submit “a comprehensive written memorandum to the Committee” (of Rules, Privileges and Discipline--CRPD), sharing my views with the said Committee on the conflict between the Rt. Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga (the Speaker of Parliament) and Hon Persis Namuganza (the Minister of State for Lands and MP for Bukono County).
She further directed me to deliver my memorandum to the Parliamentary Records Office, Room 112, First Floor, South Wing, before 3:00pm of Monday 23rd April 2018.
I definitely submitted my memorandum on time, and hoped that I would be invited to discuss it with the Committee, but to this day I have not received any communication from her.
I was therefore shocked (after 6 months) just to read on page 7 in the New Vision of Friday 12th October 2018 that the Committee had completed its Report in which “it faulted Namuganza for failing to maintain and strengthen the public trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament”.
The report further asserted that:
“Namuganza’s utterances undermined the integrity of the Speaker, and undoubtedly had the effect of bringing Parliament and its members into disrepute”
I believe that the Committee is entitled to make such a judgement.
However, it should not cover up the truth.
Since the age-limit debate in December 2017, millions of Ugandans do not have much trust or confidence in the 10th Parliament of Uganda. They do not believe that it has enough integrity to protect.
Hence my general appeal that Parliament should not continue to ditch itself into deeper political abyss countrywide.
Hon Namuganza was interviewed in an open place in Parliament, in the presence of the media.
But Rt. Hon. Kadaga was interviewed in an unknown place, allegedly for decorum reasons. To those who want to promote natural justice, that report may be construed to be one-sided.
It will therefore be strange if the recommendations from such a report are adopted by the supreme law-making organ of Uganda, which is also thought to be the voice of the voiceless.
My second humble opinion is that the 10th Parliament should avoid creating more bad precedents in its work.
The Kadaga-Namuganza clash is the first of its kind in the history of Parliament. So, it may be unwise for Parliament to create the precedent of entering into the struggles of two MPs or more who may be quarrelling about political or other matters in their home area.
Put in different words, what type of legacy does the 10th Parliament want to leave behind in Uganda?
Speaking in Parliament, on Thursday 15th March 2018, Rt. Hon Jacob Oulanyah (the Deputy Speaker of Parliament) rightly gave out the following directives to the CRPD, because he himself did not know the root-causes of the said clash:
“We do not know where they (the conflicts) are coming from…..the circumstances of this matter are such that it is difficult for us to comment one way or the other because the facts are not known. Therefore, I substantially refer this specific matter to the CRPD to look at the circumstance under which the statements are being made, the factors leading to them and the (possible) solutions……the CRPD should proceed with this matter expeditiously and come and advise the House on the way forward”.
In my opinion (based on documented and eye witness information), the circumstances include the following:
- Rt. Hon Kadaga’s intensive involvement in the struggle for the post of Isebantu Kyabazinga (the cultural leader of Busoga) in the last 10 years, from September 2008 to present.
- Rt. Hon Kadaga’s participation, on Monday 26th February 2018, in a function organized by a disputed Nkono (the hereditary ruler of Bukono Chiefdom) without prior consultation and agreement with Hon. Namuganza, the MP for Bukono constituency and Minister of State for Lands in the Uganda Government.
- The ongoing confusion in the exercise of powers and responsibilities of Rt. Hon. Kadaga as the Speaker of Parliament and as a senior politician in Busoga Sub-Region vis-à-vis the other members of Parliament from the same sub-region.
- The negative role which the Parliament of Uganda has been playing in some matters pertaining to the Kyabazinga institution since 1963 to present.
It is necessary to highlight her involvement because the main accusation against Hon. Namuganza is that she used a foul and spiteful language against Rt. Hon. Kadaga and His Royal Highness William Wilberforce Nadiope IV, (the Kyabazinga of Busoga from August 2014 to present).
Most of the information in this section is available in Chapter 14 entitled “The Succession Disagreements 2008-2016” in the book known as “Evolution of Busoga Eleven Hereditary Chiefdoms and Kyabazingaship in Uganda: 1600-2016” (written by Richard Kayaga Gonza and Frank Nabwiso, assisted by Diaz Muzaale and Fred Oloka).
It reveals how Rt. Hon. Kadaga participated actively in the said succession struggle after the death of the third Isebantu Kyabazinga H.W. Muloki on 1st September 2008.
The additional information comes from other authentic sources as shown below in a chronological order.
“I got a call at night on 1st September 2008 that some elders on Spire Road (in Jinja Municipality) wanted to install their own Isebantu”, Rt. Hon Kadaga recounted in Christ’s Cathedral at Bugembe during the funeral service for the late Muloki. But she did not name those who called her and why they called in particular.
During the celebrations of the International Women’s Day in Bunha Chiefdom (Mayuge) District, Rt. Hon Kadaga allegedly claimed that she had been sent by President Museveni to tell “Basoga that they were still without a substantive Kyabazinga”.
But it was not clear why the said announcement was made on that particular day, when she and the President knew that Wambuzi’s election was already being contested in Jinja High Court.
The Speaker allegedly ordered the Uganda Police to take over the security at Bugembe and that apart from the offices of the Acting Kyabazinga/Isabalangira, no other office was to be accessed until the Kyabazinga impasse had been resolved.
It was not clear to many Basoga how she had acquired executive power to make such directives.
Six years after the demise of Muloki, Prince Nadiope, Kadaga’s favoured candidate was elected by 10 Royal Chiefs in what appeared to be another controversial election, because according to the then Chairperson (Chief Juma Munulo) when he called for the election, “only six chiefs were in favour of it, three were against and one abstained from voting”.
Maureen Kyalya, a Senior Presidential Advisor on poverty and later a presidential candidate in 2016. “blamed the confusion in Obwa Kyabazinga bwa Busoga on the Sub-Region’s heavy weights who wanted to be seen as the pillars, heroes or heroines of Busoga (particularly Rt. Hon. Kadaga) who were rolling the name of Prince Wambuzi in the mud”.
In petition No. 43 of 2015 filed in the Uganda Constitutional Court by J.S Mayanja-Nkangi and Company Advocates, the petitioners appealed to the court to declare among other things. “That the act of the Speaker of Uganda Parliament which allegedly included using her position and influence (to hold the election of His Royal Highness William Wilberforce as the Kyabazinga of Busoga, directing the breaking of the padlocks of the Kyabazinga’s Headquarters at Bugembe and stopping staff work) were inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 246(2) and Article 246(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda”.
But since that time, the Constitutional Court has not found time to hear the case, which is another example of how Uganda’s Judiciary system continues to deny justice to oppressed persons.
Nabwiso is former MP for Kagoma County.
Tomorrow, in the second part, the author, a renowned politician in Busoga shall delve into the real gist of Kadaga, Namuganzi conflict.