The Leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi has demanded clarification from government on issues he says have thrown the country in a state of panic and fear especially regarding the reported military coup and Uganda’s involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He pointed out that government has deliberately refused to address the allegations by the United Nations group of experts that it has connections with the M23, a rebel group that has caused chaos in Eastern Congo.
He said ever since he raised the issue on October 30th, no report has been given by government about the same saying that the comments Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi gave in the house were not enough. He said government also needs to clarify on the issue of coup threats that was started by the President and re-echoed by both the minister of defence and the army commander. He said that this coup wouldn’t be about overthrowing the entire government but the threats are aimed at overthrowing parliament.
He demanded that minister of defence Crispus Kiyonga and army commander Aronda Nyakairima explain to parliament what they meant by the statements uttered about the coup saying that the statements have not only caused fear among Ugandans but have also put Uganda in bad light with the investors and other governments in the region.
He also attacked the executive for interfering with parliament and hindering it from performing its oversight role by questioning the rampant corruption and other forms of abuse by government officials. He said the interference of the executive in parliament’s work has become so unfortunate that the president said parliament would only be recalled from recess over his dead body and went on to refer to Members of Parliament as fools and idiots.
He reminded the president that recalling or not recalling of the house should be the work of the speaker in a country where the doctrine of separation of powers is respected. Mafabi also said that if what media reported about the budget being handled by the NRM party caucus as was directed by Museveni at the party retreat in Kyankwanzi is true; it will be very unconstitutional and needs to be addressed because the work of sharing the National cake is the work of the whole parliament.
He also said that the executive should appreciate the work of the media and should stop interfering with their work. He said that the executive should stop intimidating the media saying that if government wants to put any information forward, it can do so without intimidating or interfering with the work of the media He demanded that the executive stops intimidating MPs and that the executive should do its work and let other arms do their work independently because democracy is very vital.
In the absence of the leader of government business and the government chief whip in the house, finance minister in charge of privatization Ashton Kajara responded to Mafabi’s issues. He said that the Prime Minister will give a detailed report on all the raised issues within one week to allay the fears of Ugandans. The executive has been at loggerheads with parliament since the initiation of the ninth parliament in 2011 with the two arms clashing on almost every issue-the October 2011 oil debate, the Basajjabalaba saga, the health budget stalemate and the oil bill debate.
The latest clash was however triggered by the death of Butaleja woman MP Cerinah Nebanda in December 2012 with parliament accusing the executive of having a hand in the death of the MP.
Additional Reporting from Agencies