Thursday October 12 2017

Kadaga acted within provisions of Parliament rules of procedure

 

By Chris Obore

Former ambassador William G Naggaga wrote so many assumptions and falsehoods in Daily Monitor of October 9 regarding the events in Parliament and particularly Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. He said the situation in Parliament would have been handled differently than the Speaker did.
He said the Speaker should have suspended the session and held meetings with both parties.

He started his narrative with explanations about how he watched the Constitutional Assembly delegates deliberate on the 1995 Constitution. He then expressed his admiration for former Speaker James Wapakhabulo. Of course, the late Wapa was a man of stature. However, Naggaga’s use of Wapakhabulo’s name is not in good faith, but meant to fit into his propaganda agenda against Speaker Kadaga.
As a journalist who grew up in Mbale, studied and started work there, most of us know he was a very good man, but it is wrong for Naggaga to assume that he was without enemies or blemish.

However, to try to judge the current issues on the basis of 1995 situation, is an admission of failure to appreciate public policy dynamics. They are fuzzy and subjectively defined. While there can be a connection between today’s events and history, today’s environment is not yesterday’s and will not be tomorrow’s.
In any case, as a former envoy, did Naggaga document anywhere when Wapa was alive that he was the best political leader who deserved presidency or is it a matter of Wapa becoming the good one only after he had passed on?

Should Wapa be used now to propagate Naggaga’s harsh criticism for Speaker Kadaga? Sensitivity would require that we leave Wapa to rest in peace. He played his part. Naggaga should now play his part in growing an inclusive democratic country. Kadaga is doing her part. However, the article demonstrated that the retired envoy seems to have discarded all principles of diplomacy and consensus building at the altar of political expediency. He has already judged Kadaga.

Such politically-motivated and rush judgements have deprived us of a cadre of citizens capable of mediating conflict. An ambassador should be capable of listening to both sides. But to Naggaga, for all that transpired in Parliament, Kadaga is the wrong one. Does he understand that it takes two to tango? For information, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah had first adjourned the House when the age limit emotions manifested.
Kadaga also adjourned the House when the same manifested.

It is on the third sitting that the Speaker suspended the MPs, who had offended the rules of procedure. They had vowed not to allow any business as long as MP Raphael Magyezi’s motion on Constitutional amendments was part of the business.
Does Naggaga convince himself that adjourning the House was the master stroke that would have resolved the problem? May I urge him to appreciate the fact that often times, what we think will work, may not work. As such, solutions or policy proposals remain assumptions until they are tested.

You can plan to do A expecting result B, but you instead get result F. That is the nature of public affairs. It is, therefore, wrong for Naggaga to speak with finality as if he has absolute control over all the variables to the conflict. That kind of thinking makes you fall into a linearity trap that A automatically leads to B.
Things, especially politics, never work that way. What evidence do you have that if the Speaker suspended the House, there would have been no chaos ? Was Naggaga attending both NRM and Opposition meetings to understand their course of action?

The Speaker acted within the provisions of the House rules of procedure, not assumptions on what will or will not happen because she is not a magician. As a Speaker, she was provided with the instruments of authority.

Secondly, It is wrong to also assume that there were no meetings between the Speaker and the Opposition MPs. The Deputy Speaker was the first to meet the MPs led by the amiable Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza. Kadaga also held meetings with the Opposition when she returned from abroad.
The Prime Minister was part of the meetings. The former ambassador ought to have known that the Speaker is a referee. The two sides to the game are the ones to brief and debrief their players and fans about the rules of the game plus the consequences of offending them.
It is ironical that he did not see anything bizzare from the suspended MPs implying that anarchy is the preferred method of protest. So many anti-Kadaga crusaders keep saying the Speaker did not follow the rules of procedure, but they never cite any rule that the Speaker ignored.
In any case, the rules of procedure have an appeal process in case the Speaker erred. Why isn’t anyone taking that option ? The institution of Parliament should be bigger than any individual MP.
Parliament must be defended due to its centrality in good governance. What is needed now is for the contending parties to reconsider their approaches and restore the sanctify of the August House.

Mr Obore is the Parliament’s director of communications and public affairs.

chrisobore1@gmail.com

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