By Henry Mulindwa
President Museveni last night intensified his move to have his favourite state minister for Lands Aidah Nantaba approved by Parliament.
Besides writing to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga where he made a passionate appeal to have her committee reconvene and reconsider the Nantaba verdict, Museveni, according to sources, has also taken the matter to the Attorney General.
He wants the AG to try to identify possible areas within the law and parliamentary rules where the committee’s decision can be undone and Nantaba reappears.
Sources informed us that already a letter in which Museveni is contesting the committee’s verdict has already been forwarded to the Speaker although Rebecca Kadaga has not shared it with the committee members.
“What I know is that he has written to the Speaker about Nantaba. He is trying to make an appeal to the committee to reconsider its decision. He says the rules of natural justice were not applied to Nantaba before the verdict was taken,” top government officials told us.
According to sources, Museveni’s main point of contention was the decision by the Parliamentary Appointments Committee to block the lady from Kayunga on grounds of possessing alleged questionable personal character.
“The first hurdle (books) was cleared. He thought that was the case against her. He says he was surprised to see that the committee convicted Nantaba on another ground for which she never appeared to defend herself. He says there was mob justice”the sources added.
Museveni, in the letter to Kadaga, wants her to reconvene the committee so that Nantaba reappears and pleads for her fate. In fact, recently, we reported that Museveni had confided in some members on the committee that Nantaba is willing to apologize before the committee for her alleged mistakes.
Sources added that having realized that the speaker might not buy his idea; he has now sought the services of the attorney general.
“He wants the AG to explain whether there are possible avenues of how the rules can be overstepped. He wants Nantaba to appear before the committee not before the entire house. However, the speaker has stood her ground saying a decision was taken and she has just to appeal to the whole house” top sources stated.
On Tuesday we reported how a group of NRM MPs sitting on this committee led by Gen. Elly Tumwine were lobbying their colleagues on the committee to mount pressure on the speaker to reconvene the committee to reconsider the Nantaba verdict. Tumwine is doing all this after he was grilled by the High Command for crusading against a presidential appointee on the committee yet he is also his commander in chief.
WHY M7 WON’T WIN THE WAR
The fact that Kadaga has refused to summon the committee shows that his hopes of having Nantaba become a minister have been dashed. Kadaga is basing her argument on the House rule 160 that talks about appeal. This rule entitles the president a right to appeal to the entire House in case any his nominees are rejected. It is the very thing they want him to do but not to appeal to the appointments committee. Sources told us that when Museveni tried to ask Gen. Elly Tumwine to carry out intelligence gathering about the possibility of appealing to the House, the general told him to simply forget. He warned him that here, it will be worse for the lady. Below we present the reasons our sources believe Nantaba cannot be approved to become a minister.
Janet Museveni enjoys a good following in Parliament especially among female MPs who are in formal relationships. Sources told us that right from the date she was announced a minister; Janet’s camp has been working tirelessly to ensure that Nantaba loses. On the committee, Sheema Woman MP, Beatrice Nyakigongoro was in charge of coordinating pro-Janet assignments when Nantaba appeared. She was assisted by Anifa Kawooya who executed the outside operations.
Of all the MPs from Kayunga, none of them has come out to sympathise with Nantaba. Not even her relative who is Ntenjeru North MP, Amos Lugoloobi. All Kayunga MPs continue to laugh endlessly every time they see Nantaba swimming in troubled political waters. Some of them actually have bought new suits to wear them on Independence Day as their Uganda @ 50 celebration jubilee in commemoration of her cabinet loss.
KAKOOZA, KAMBA REJECTION
Sources on the committee informed us that Kadaga is also aware that once she yields to Museveni’s pressure to have Nantaba reappear, she will be opening up a Pandora box.
The ministers who were last year rejected by her committee have threatened to expose the committee in case it agrees to pardon Nantaba. As such, the rejected ministers are also wondering why Museveni is favouring Nantaba to this extent yet on their misery, he never did anything. He kept quiet and finally their offices were filled up in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. They are waiting for a chance when Museveni will appeal to Parliament to consider Nantaba and they also turn against him since he never helped them when they needed him.
Sources added that another hurdle for Nantaba is a group of MPs who are friends with Nakifuma County MP, Sekitoleko Kafeero. Many youthful MPs accuse Nantaba of ‘mistreating’ their pal when she unceremoniously terminated her dealings with him. Kafeero, according to sources, is moving around telling whoever cares to listen that Nantaba is ‘unreliable’. As such, several MPs are sympathizing with him seeing him as a wounded buffalo which needs a Good Samaritan.