Ministers from Buganda Kingdom yesterday called for calm in the middle of the current political storm in Parliament, but also cheered under-fire outspoken MPs, whom they assured of the Kabaka’s backing for speaking the truth.
Three ministers from Kabaka’s government were at Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo’s home in Kawempe, Kampala where they addressed a group of 10 MPs on the need to “put Uganda first” and “stay firm”.
The visit by Mr Kabuuza Mukasa, the minister in-charge of Kabaka’s travels, Mr Herbert Ssemakula in- charge of sports and Ms Florence Nakiwala, the Minister for Tourism, brings a new dimension to the tension sparked by Butaleja MP Cerinah Nebanda’s sudden death.
The ministers had come to commiserate with Mr Ssekikubo and Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko who were arrested and released over comments they made about the MP’s death.
Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the minister in-charge of the Presidency, has defended the government’s conduct in the matter and denied reports of a rift between the Executive and Parliament. He accused MPs of politicking and interfering with the work of the Executive.
The ministers came with a bouquet of flowers which they said was to symbolise greetings from the Kabaka of Buganda.
Although the ministers kept talking about the Kabaka’s backing, the kingdom spokesperson, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, yesterday said Mengo was aware of the visit, but they were not sent by the Kabaka.
It is not clear if Mr Mayiga’s response had anything to do with the central government’s sensitivity to the involvement of the kingdom, in anything political.
Using the analogy of a monitor lizard, Mr Mukasa told the lawmakers that in desperate situations, when age catches up with the monitor lizard (eswaswa), it is compelled to eat those around it.
“Nobody has a monopoly over Uganda. None of the three arms of government is independent, what matters is respect…,” Mr Kabuuza said. “Kabaka wants unity regardless of your political affiliations.”
Mr Ssekikubo said: “I am glad that the king has recognised his loyal subject at a time of tribulations.” Using the story of Jesus as it was told in Mathew 14:22-33, Buganda Caucus chairperson Godfrey Kiwanda addressed President Museveni, whom he accused of harassing party members.
“The boat is flooded but the captain is asleep,” Mr Kiwanda said. “Jesus never turned against the people in the flooded boat, he woke up and soothed the storm. The storm in Uganda is about poverty, unemployment, corruption and brutality. You must rebuke the storm not the people who have awakened you.”
Mr Nsereko said; “I am one of the founders of NRM and I will not be intimidated. If President Museveni dismisses us, we will also dismiss him from NRM. He is using our colleagues to spy on us but we will keep fighting for the public interest,” Mr Nsereko said.
MPs Barnabas Tinkasiimire Latif Ssebaggala, Patrick Nsanja, and Abdu Katuntu were present.