Opinion: Turning Down Shadow Cabinet Posts Is No Scandal-Nambooze

Shadow Minister of Information(Communication) and Kampala, Hon Betty Namooze Bakireke has started defending the Leader of Opposition after naming her shadow cabinet.
I have heard that some of my brothers who have been announced as Ministers on the Shadow Cabinet are considering turning down the appointments which they had reportedly accepted! But of course I know of others out there who blatantly declined the positions during consultations. Of course it’s their right but let no one call this a scandal for us in the Opposition.

Am here to ally fears and laugh at those jubilating while prophesing doom for the Opposition in Parliament and an end of the road for Betty Ochan led Government. Being a senior legislator; having served under five (5) Leaders of Opposition, I will not be moved at all even if this decision is taken by my honourable colleagues.

Politicians possess that innate controversial characteristic and you will never do anything as a group without some causing scenes. This is common with politicians world over; when you hear of resignations in UK one can easily think that the Conservative Party won’t survive in power for another day.

Ever since I joined Parliament, I have never witnessed any appointments in the opposition without some declining positions. Of course the ruling regime has had few of such because of the big pecks that come with being a Minister in Government.Yet what people must know is that politics doesn’t allow for any vacuum, once you refuse to take a position; another person will heave in sight and occupy that position without ruling out the possibility of even serving better.

My Honourable brother Odongo Otto for example is on record for disagreeing with every appointed LOP at one point especially in the first days of Office and declining serving on the shadow cabinet. In the Wafula Oguttu Government, he declined to take the position of Shadow Internal Affairs Minister. The Media wrote, our TV and radio analysts talked and made predictions, quietly Ogutu approached the Hon Muwanga Kivumbi; a new legislator who had just joined Parliament through a by-election then. He was a bit reluctant, we talked to him and he accepted the appointment and today in him we have one of the most effective Shadow Ministers.

Our legislative role is about being given an opportunity, Parliament is a house of equals. Even if one holds a PHD, the qualifications required of MPs is the same. The biggest qualification for any MP is to be a true representative of the people, the rest are ornamental. Non of us writes his or her policy statements, petition and motion unless when one chose to do the same. In Parliament, the basic prerequisite is humility and willingness to learn from others.

A few weeks ago, I heard people claiming that MPs Munyagwa and Kasibante can’t replace Katuntu and Amongi as Chair and Vice of COSASE respectively! What is special about being a chair of COSASE? Calling for hands and picking those to speak or reading a report written by the Parliamentary technical staff? Whatever is done in the Parliamentary Committees is combining the inquistive capabilities of over 25 MPs which is finally polished in a report by the Clerk’s team. A Chairperson is only the flagbearer of work done jointly by both MPs and Parliamentary Staff. I admit some MPs refuse to learn while others traded their credibility but all these are issues of personal conduct.

I bet that the MPs who are considered underdogs will surprise many and the great men and women we are praising will go into oblivion if pride apparently over powers their sense of judgement.The conduct of Members of Parliament should be invariable given the vast exposure and exchanges at their disposal. We ought to be very sensitive on some of our political moves without necessarily factoring in the adage that sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings.

Above all we must know that we are facing a battle of our life, a dictator who threatens the existence of our country and we have to use any platform at our disposal, summon all our strength and push to the same direction. As we call for unity we must demonstrate it at every opportunity and the call for unity now must be exemplified by working with FDC’s Betty Achan AWOL not necessarily because she is our great friend at a personal level or does things our way but because we must work together at the level of Parliament to come up with a united legislative agenda.


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