Options for Kadaga: Eat humble pie, reassert yourself or resign
Posted Wednesday, February 20 2013 at 02:00
If she chooses [to resign], she will be well placed to begin the real struggle for independence of Parliament... I sincerely hope her political career is not chasing after twilight, because all said and done, she is made of good stuff.
It has not been a good month for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga - what with backtracking on recall of Parliament, expulsion of journalists, stopping OPM investigations and making a U-turn... and two litigations, one by her very own “partners in crime”!
I hear women empowerment activists are planning activities to protest that Kadaga’s woes are chauvinistic driven, by men who can’t abide successful women. If it is true, I would advise them not to hide behind the timeless, “sex curtain”, for the sake of a public display of solidarity, otherwise they will be no different from Bahororo, Ateso, Acholi, Baganda, Muslims and Lugbara, who, when it was one of their own, threw values, morals and meritocracy to the wind!
The “Save Kadaga” activism should focus on creating an environment that can nurture the principles and values of separation of powers, so that Speakers, male or female, are able to give their best to this country, safe in the reality of a Legislature independent of the Executive! If women activists want to explain away Kadaga’s problems as chauvinist driven, they must also explain former Speakers James Wapakhabulo’s abdication of the Speakership and Edward Ssekandi’s apathetic tenure of that office!
Kadaga’s real problem was naivety. She (i) got carried away by success too early in the game, leading to inability to manage her rising star. Success is the twin of rivalry, and unless it is handled with tact, it leaves some people bruised, which they don’t normally take lying down! (ii) she was naïve not to realise, after 24 years in Parliament, that Uganda’s Constitution and Parliament are President Museveni’s home playground, where rules of the game are tilted in his favour and where anybody playing against him will lose the game, unless they are ingenuous enough to lure him to a neutral playground, where the rules of the game are different! As part of the Executive for 17 years, Kadaga should have worked this out, and recognised her advantaged position as Speaker of the 9th Parliament, to turn around the status quo.
Unfortunately, she lacked entrepreneurship to take the risk, so a great opportunity is lost, for Uganda! (iii) As if that was not enough, Kadaga naively clashed with the international community, head on, on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Now she has three powerful foes, the international community, Museveni and the media. (iv) Gololaism. Moses Golola promised kickboxing watchers a great match, but did not invest in learning the real game, part of which is to know your opponent’s strength, now, he stands a humiliated man!
Former Speakers Wapakhabulo and Ssekandi, to a large extent victims of their time (because Museveni was still fairly popular), were smart enough to recognise wars they couldn’t win, so they cut their losses and played ball. But with the current political climate bustling for change, Kadaga’s time is different, offering her the perfect break to play the game differently, albeit with tact and ingenuity.
Unfortunately, she neither recognised nor seized the opportunity, now it seems she has only the devil’s alternatives to choose from - either (i) eat humble pie and climb down to Wapa and Ssekandi level (ii) re-assert herself and face a full-scale war with Museveni (iii) resign from the Speakership and keep her dignity. If she chooses the latter option, she will be well placed to begin the real struggle for independence of Parliament, beginning with telling “The untold story” which Wapa and Ssekandi couldn’t tell because they became accomplices.
I sincerely hope her political career is not chasing after twilight, because all said and done, she is made of good stuff.
Ms Kamya-Turwomwe is the president, Uganda Federal Alliance