By Henry Mulindwa
President Yoweri Museveni has grilled Gen. Elly Tumwine in relation to his alleged involvement in voting against approval of Lands minister-designate and Kayunga Woman MP Idah Nantaba
State House sources told us that Museveni, with some members of the High Command grilled Tumwine at State House, Entebbe, for allegedly having compromised on the President’s position to have Nantaba approved by the Appointments Committee of Parliament to assume her office as state minister for Lands.
Sources informed us that the latest is likely to put Parliament and Museveni to another icy relationship.
Museveni who is also the Commander-in-Chief (CiC) chairs the High Command but at the same time makes appointments and that for Gen. Tumwine to have been the chief anti-Nantaba crusader on the committee angered the high command.
Upon his grilling, Tumwine, according to sources, was tasked to lobby for another meeting by his committee in which it will have to reconsider the controversial Nantaba project.
In fact, top sources on the committee informed us that Tumwine has been frequenting the Speaker’s office trying to persuade her to re-summon the committee. He is also reportedly lobbying several MPs to raise the Nantaba matter so that their voices can force the Speaker to call for a fresh meeting.
We have been informed that in this new assault, Tumwine is working with three other MPs on this committee who include Victoria Rusoke, Hood Katuramu and David Ochwa.
“They are lobbying members. Museveni is also mounting pressure on the speaker to call for this meeting to reconsider the Nantaba matter. The speaker is disgusted as to why some people think it was her decision to block the lady. The matter was voted on! The speaker just chaired the meeting! How can she be the same person to call for a meeting to un-do what members decided on democratically?”top sources stated.
The sources stated that much as the president wants this matter reconsidered, he has no option but to make an appeal to the entire house so that the matter is decided upon by the entire house.
Recently, we reported that Museveni was pleading with influential MPs on the committee to have Nantaba reappear. He, according to sources states that Nantaba is ready to apologize to the committee formally. He also tried to market the idea of appealing to the entire house to handle the issue, but sources stated that he was warned that ‘matters would even be worse here for the lady’
On the day Nantaba first appeared for vetting, Museveni made a passionate phone call to Tumwine. He requested him to take the Nantaba issue as a personal appeal from him not as CiC or president but as a citizen from Rwakitura.
“Gen. Tumwine, I am making a personal request to you. I request you to treat this as a personal appeal. Please help me have that lady approved. This is a personal request to you”sources quoted Museveni as lobbying Tumwine to which the general responded asking that ‘how would I market that idea sir?’
It was then agreed between the two that Tumwine would ride on the issue of ‘fighting land grabbers in Kayunga’ in order to have Nantaba sail through. This project however, suffered a blow as the committee wondered how a civilian was going to fight grabbers who are military generals. The deal flopped as the committee refused to buy the idea. Matters were worsened after Nantaba started attacking the committee and generals which infuriated the members.
In fact, it were those attacks that Tumwine who initially marketed her all of a sudden forgot all about Museveni’s initial pleas and played a video recording using his Ipad. Tumwine spied on Nantaba when he used his ipad and recorded the woman from Kayunga ranting in the corridors of parliament.
He played this recording on the final day of judging Nantaba and the committee resolved to dust bin her. In fact, when Kadaga tried to put the matter on vote by shouting ‘AYE or NEY’, the members opposed her saying they wanted it decided upon by show of hands.
Tumwine was among the eight MPs who voted against Nantaba while four supported her and three abstained. He is now leading a campaign to retract Nantaba decision.
It is for reason that even some MPs led by Buganda caucus chairperson Godfrey Kiwanda have started coming out to attack the committee calling for Nantaba’s approval.
This has left the Appointments Committee of Parliament headed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga under pressure from Generals and President Museveni to immediately summon a meeting to reconsider its decision against Nantaba.
The committee recently voted to dust bin Nantaba on grounds of questionable personal character which it feared once okayed to Cabinet would turn chaotic.
The latest demand has however, according, to sources left the Speaker very furious asking why Museveni continues to mount pressure on her as if this was a personal matter.
“I am not the one who took that decision. I only chaired a meeting and members voted on the matter. Why should someone think I should reconvene the meeting when it were members who decided that Nantaba shouldn’t pass?” sources quoted Kadaga as saying.
Ministers’ swearing In Balance
Sources on the committee informed us that the continued refusal by the president to swear in the new ministers who were approved by the committee is related to the Nantaba issue. Museveni wants her approved so that he conducts the swearing in ceremony. In fact, several of the appointed ministers are these days loitering in the corridors of parliament while others are making frequent calls to state house to find out the date.
Many of the ministers including Kataike Sarah, Rose Najjemba, Ernest Kiiza, Richard Todwong and Frank Tumwebaze have even invested a lot of dimes in their dress code. They keep changing their attires hoping that the swearing is for today, but in vain. Efforts to pick a word from cabinet secretary John Mitala and Museveni’s loud mouth Tamale Mirundi were futile as they refused to pick our calls.