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Museveni targets NRM ‘rebel’ MPs

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By ROBERT MUHEREZA & John Njoroge

Posted  Monday, October 31   2011 at  00:00
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KAMPALA/KABALE

MPs and civil society activists have accused President Museveni of undermining good governance and accountability after he called on Ugandans to join him in fighting ‘rebel’ Members of Parliament in his party and in the opposition whom he said are intent on sabotaging government programmes.

Legal minds last week warned the President that he is under obligation to uphold the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers by ensuring constitutional equilibrium between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary is maintained.

Mr Museveni has been facing stiff resistance from a section of NRM MPs and the opposition over his defence of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who was mentioned in diplomatic cable Wikileaks as having been involved in receiving bribes from Italian oil giant, ENI.

Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga this month also tabled documents implicating Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa and Energy Minister Hilary Onek in receiving bribes from a British firm Tullow Oil.

Not new to rebels
“NRM has defeated all the armed rebellions in Uganda and the challenge now is some MPs that are currently involved in making noise in Parliament with an objective of paralysing government development programmes,” Mr Museveni said, giving examples of the Mehta Group Mabira forest sugar project and the Bujagali Dam project. He made the remarks at the memorial service for NRM freedom fighter, Izodol Tirwomwe at the Kabale Diocesan Cathedral, Rushoroza. Mr Tirwomwe was reportedly murdered during the Obote II government in 1984 in Kikyusa, Luweero District.

Mr Mbabazi, who is also leader of government business in Parliament, has been asked to step aside together with Mr Kutesa and Mr Onek, after MPs resolved to institute an ad hoc committee to investigate bribery allegations against them. But Mr Mbabazi has rejected such calls and the matter remains unresolved after the NRM parliamentary caucus’s recent meeting in Kyankwanzi, agreed to ignore the parliamentary resolutions.

Mr Museveni told the NRM MPs in Kyankwanzi that the bribery allegations were “fake” and were being used as a mask to fight internal NRM wars against Mr Mbabazi, and made it clear he would stick with his Prime Minister.

The outspoken NRM MPs, however, say Mr Museveni’s actions are misdirected. “As an MP, my commitment is to ensure that government keeps its promise to the people,” Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba said. “If this is true then I am extremely surprised at the President’s comments,”

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo said, declining to comment further on the matter. “He knows what informed his (Mr Museveni) outburst,” Mr Ssekikubo added.

Civil society organisations have also criticised the President’s latest remarks. “When you look at his record over the years this is not surprising,” ACODE’s Executive Director Godber Tumushabe said, adding that Mr Museveni has very high contempt for institutions that work without his (Museveni) direct authority.

On Gaddafi
On the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, President Museveni described his killing as a cowardly act by the National Transitional Council (NTC) leaders. “Why kill him? As if there was no rule of law? Those who killed him wanted to revenge,” Mr Museveni said, adding that the NTC had demonstrated a poor foundation by promoting revenge.

“NRM has served this country very well because it does not believe in revenge,” he said. “Where are those that killed our freedom fighters? In fact many of them are dead. Even those who killed Jesus Christ are dead but Jesus’ ideology of Christianity is still alive,” Mr Museveni said.