People & Power

Parliament, Cabinet stop blame game on Mandela

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By Amanya Mushega

Posted  Sunday, December 15  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

So we the living, and especially those in government, owe it to many Ugandans, not just ourselves. For the Cabinet it was a sad missed opportunity.

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I watched NTV and read the papers and was not amused by the altercations between the Executive, to put it lightly and the Speaker, about the manner in which Parliament paid tribute to Madiba in the absence of our esteemed Cabinet members.
First, let me state the obvious. While we all know that each of us born, young and the very old will die, no one knows when. Second, it is a well established custom and practice that when a person dies, those concerned, stop or suspend the ongoing work or business to pay their respects and arrange a befitting tribute and farewell to the deceased.

Madiba died at night on Thursday, December 5 and the day to officially mourn and pay tribute publicly for South Africa and the whole world was fixed for Tuesday, December 10.

Honouring Mandela
The whole world was informed. World leaders, including our own, many former world leaders and many people stopped their business and flocked to Johannesburg to pay tribute to this great leader.

He was a leader in all senses, not just that he was president. I know many people who on that day stopped work for a while in order to watch the proceedings on TVs out of the deep respect and esteem in which Mandela was and still is held.
So what was the problem for the Cabinet to suspend the retreat for about five hours, come to Parliament and pay the well deserved respect and tribute to Madiba? They had at their disposal, enough lead cars to clear the way to and fro to be in time. What is the point of choosing a date that suited them rather than the one for the occasion?

Let me also point out that there are many people in Uganda dead and alive, who contributed to the struggle in Southern Africa and who valued and still value the contribution to humanity that Madiba made.

Many governments in Uganda contributed financially, materially and morally to that struggle. The Obote I and II governments and Amin’s regime did contribute in spite of its own record at home. For a long time and under earlier governments, the Uganda passport, was valid for all countries except the Republic of South Africa.
So we the living, and especially those in government, owe it to many Ugandans, not just ourselves. For the Cabinet it was a sad missed opportunity.

We should stop the blame game, which Madiba never practised, swallow our pride and move to emulate his humility, honesty, simplicity, seeing the good in others, including those that disagree with us, the calm but firm character that this Great son of Africa espoused.

Unfortunately, it may take a long time to get another Madiba. If that happens, let those who will be present , learn from this, and put their act together. Let us now come together and pray for him to have eternal peace and stop this blame game in public and the preposterous altercations.