Museveni changes tactics, meets ‘rebel legislators’
Posted Sunday, February 10 2013 at 02:00
President tells MPs to run to party caucus whenever they face disagreements.
President Museveni on Friday secretly met selected National Resistance Movement lawmakers and independents who signed the botched House recall petition in his latest attempt to defuse the rebellion in Parliament.
The President, according to sources who attended the meeting, met a group of 40 MPs at State House Entebbe, where he asked them to use the NRM party Caucus to address their grievances, instead of using the parliamentary platform to criticise his government.
“Why do you behave like this? Why don’t you bring those things [complaints] in the caucus? I am not a Member of Parliament, but we can always discuss in our caucus as a family,” a source quoted the President as saying.
Unlike during the just-concluded ruling party retreat in Kyankwanzi where the President used combative language in trying to address the issue of alleged indiscipline in Parliament, another source said the President was “unruffled”, “tolerant” and “willing to listen”.
However, MPs like Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) were not invited for this meeting and others like Mr Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) were invited but did not attend. Some of the MPs who attended included Mr Henry Musasizi (Rubanda East), Mr Vincent Kyamadid (Rwampara), Ms Monica Amoding (Youth Female MP), Ms Jalia Bintu (Masindi) and Ms Margaret Kiboijana (Ibanda). The meeting started at 4pm and ended at 11pm.
Before the meeting, MPs led by Dr Baryomunsi reportedly told the President they would not apologise for signing the recall petition. But the President clarified that the meeting was intended to address their concerns.
The lawmakers reportedly explained why they signed the petition and asked the President to be tolerant and allow Parliament to do its work. The meeting ended without resolutions.
The botched effort to recall Parliament was the latest salvo in a clash between MPs who accuse the government of frustrating investigations into the sudden death of Butaleja MP Cerinah Nebanda, and the Executive, which accuses the legislators of over-reaching themselves and scoring political points through misinformation. MPs wanted Parliament to discuss the “illegal” detention of MPs arrested over their statements on the matter.